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NY D82689

October 15, 1998

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 D82689


TARIFF NO.: 9506.70.2010; 9506.99.6080

Mark Laumann
Fritz Companies, Inc.
3109 Neil Armstrong Blvd.
Eagan, MN 55121

RE: The tariff classification of in-line skates, knee and elbow protective gear and a skate carrying bag from China.

Dear Mr. Laumann:

In your letter dated September 19, 1998, you requested a tariff classification ruling, on behalf of Rollerblade, Inc., your client.

The merchandise consists of a pair of in-line skates, knee and elbow protective gear and a nylon skate carrying bag which is specially shaped to contain the skates. The items are packaged for retail sale. The skate bag will be empty upon importation.

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) set forth the legal framework in which merchandise is to be classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. Goods that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs taken in order.

The item under discussion contains three components that are classifiable under two separate headings or subheadings of the tariff. GRI 3 applies when goods are put up for sale collectively and are classifiable under two or more headings of the tariff, GRI 3(b) covers goods put up in sets for retail sale.

The Explanatory Notes represent the official interpretation of the HTS at the international level. Explanatory Note X to GRI 3(b) defines "goods put up in sets for retail sale." Such goods: (a) consist of at least two different articles that are classifiable in different headings, (b) consist of products put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

The components of the "set" fail, in our opinion, to constitute a set for tariff classification purposes. They meet the criteria of elements (a) and (c) above but their components when put together do not share a common specific activity nor do they collectively address one particular common need. Their only association is that they are all principally intended for use in the sport of roller skating. But where the in-line skates provide the means for skating, the protective knee and elbow guards contribute to a different need, that is, the user's confidence and protection from injury. In addition, the skate carrying bag serves to store and protect the skates. Each class of articles performs a role independent of the other. Having failed as a set in accordance with GRI 3(b), the components of the item must be classified separately.

GRI 5(a) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States provides that containers which are specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, are suitable for long term use, and are entered with the article for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith. Therefore, since the skate carrying bags meet these criteria they are classifiable at the same rate as the skates, as packing.

The applicable subheading for the in-line skates and in-line skates carrying bag will be 9506.70.2010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Ice skates and roller skates...parts and accessories thereof: Roller skates and parts and acccessories thereof...Attached to boots." The rate of duty will be free.

The applicable subheading for the knee and elbow protective gear will be 9506.99.6080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Articles and equipment for general physical exercise...parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other...Other." The rate of duty will be 4.1 percent ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Tom McKenna at 212-466-5475.


Robert B. Swierupski

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