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February 25, 1999

CLA-2-90:RR:NC:MM:105 D87189


TARIFF NO.: 9020.00.0060; 6114.30.3070

Mr. Ryan Gellert
Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd.
2084 East 3900 South
South Lake City, UT 84124

RE: The tariff classification of an AvaLung from China

Dear Mr. Gellert:

In your letter, dated January 19, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The AvaLung consists of a mesh vest with a breathing tube device inserted into one of its “pockets”, shaped to fit the device.

The purpose of the AvaLung is to enable someone covered by the snow of the avalanche to breathe for an extended period. This is accomplished by use of a special tube to draw air from the snow and a device to separate the exhaled CO2 and direct it to a different area under the snow to prevent it from being inhaled.

The AvaLung is thus intended to enable one to breathe in a situation in which one would otherwise quickly suffocate. Although this new device was not specifically contemplated when the HTS was enacted, we believe they are “other breathing appliances” since they are not therapeutic, not filtering the intake of contaminates, nor using “snorkel” tubes which stick out into the air.

Although you state “several snow-safety professionals have indicated that they`d wear the vests even if they didn’t have the ‘Lung’”, we believe the vests would more often be sold only to ‘Lung’ buyers. Also, we expect most ‘Lungs’ to be sold together with a vest since, as you indicate, the whole device is useless unless the wearer can get the mouthpiece of the ‘Lung’ into his mouth before the avalanche of snow gets to him. The specially adapted vest certainly maximizes one`s chances of being able to do so. Assuming both main elements will be imported together in their retail packing, the AvaLung will be considered a set. The components of the set consist of separate articles which are, prima facie, classifiable under two headings. The “lung” is classifiable under heading 9020 and the knit man-made fiber mesh vest under heading 6114. They are put together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity. The “lung” imparts the essential character of the set.


As to the classification of the knit man-made fiber mesh vest if you do import them separately, the descriptive literature indicates that you have identified nine groups in the United States subject to avalanche fatalities. Of these, three groups, snowmobilers, back country skiers and snowboarders are victims in approximately 70% of all fatalities. These three activities are considered sports.

The Explanatory Note to 61.14 states that “The heading includes, inter alia,...(5) Special articles of apparel used for certain sports or for dancing or gymnastics (e.g. fencing clothing, jockeys silks, ballet skirts, leotards).”

The applicable subheading for the knit man-made fiber mesh vest, imported separately, will be 6114.30.3070, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Other garments, knitted or crocheted: Of man-made fibers: Other...Other: Women’s or girls’.” The rate of duty will be 15.5% ad valorem.

The mesh vest imported with the “lung” and the mesh vest imported separately fall within textile category designation 659. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of China are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

The applicable subheading for the AvaLung set, including the vest, will be 9020.00.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for, inter alia, other breathing appliances. The general rate of duty will be 2.5 percent ad valorem.

As you requested, your sample AvaLung is being returned, in a separate mailing to you.

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 classification of the vests, imported separately, or the textile quota-visa status of the vests when included as part of an AvaLung set, contact National Import Specialist Kenneth Reidlinger at 212-637-7084. If you have any other questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist James Sheridan at 212-637-7037.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity

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