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NY D83060

October 6, 1998

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 D83060


TARIFF NO.: 9506.99.6080

Isidore Strauss
154 Jupitor Street
Clark NJ 07066

RE: The tariff classification of a body protector and a shoulder protector made in the Philippines.

Dear Mr. Strauss:

In your letter dated August 16, 1998, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise consists of a shoulder protector made of 100% nylon shell, 100% polyester lining and PVC nitrite insulation fill and an equestrian body protector composed of 100% Nylon P.U. Coated and a 100% Polyester Net. The body protector article is sleeveless with a vertical center zipper closure. The front is cut to the waist but extends about six inches below the waist in back. Contained within the body protector are shock absorbing foam strips roughly one half inch thick. The sides of the article are secured by means of strap and buckle fasteners.

Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that articles are first classifiable according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

The body protector in question is said to be worn primarily by riders to reduce the impact from falls. It is designed to be worn under a riding jacket to protect the person, for example, during equestrian competition. The shoulder protector likewise provides impact protection during equestrian activities.

Heading 9506, HTSUS, provides in pertinent part, for articles and equipment for gymnastics, athletics and other sports or outdoor games.
The Explanatory Notes (EN) which, although not legally binding constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level, provide at EN 95.06(B)(13) that Heading 95.06 includes protective equipment for sports or games, including fencing masks and breast plates, elbow and knee pads, cricket pads, and shin guards, all of which are designed exclusively for protection against injury, that is, having protective features with the sole or primary function of directly absorbing or cushioning the impact of blows, collisions, falls or flying objects encounted in sport or athletic activity.

It is our position that the instant body protector "vest" and shoulder pads are sport protective equipment. Customs believes there is little difference between elbow and knee pads and padding designed to protect the shoulders, back and ribs. See Customs Ruling HQ 088288 dated April 4, 1991. The body protector and shoulder protector fall within the scope of heading 9506 as sport equipment.

The applicable subheading for the equestrian body protector and the shoulder protector will be 9506.99.6080, HTSUS, which provides for "Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports or outdoor games...: Other, Other." The duty rate will be 4.1 percent ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 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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