United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2004 HQ Rulings > HQ 966435 - HQ 966560 > HQ 966499

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 966499

October 1, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 966499 BAS


TARIFF NO.: 6506.10.6045

Harold C. Boykin
Beijing Trade Exchange, Inc.
701 E St., S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003

RE: Revocation of NY F80551, dated December 29, 1999; Classification of a water polo cap

Dear Mr. Boykin:

This is in reference to New York Ruling Letter (NY) F80551, issued to you on December 29, 1999. In NY F80551, a water polo cap with an outer surface of nylon fabric coated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic on the inner surface was classified under subheading 6505.90.8090, HTSUSA, which provides for “Hats and other headgear, knitted or crocheted, or made up from lace, felt or other textile fabric, in the piece (but not in strips)whether or not lined or trimmed: Other: Of man-made fibers: Other: Not in part of braid, Other: Other: Other.”

Upon review of the ruling, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has determined that the merchandise was erroneously classified. This ruling letter revokes NY F80551 and sets forth the correct classification determination.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S. C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of HQ 960933, as described below, was published in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 37, Number 33, on August 13, 2003. CBP received no comments during the notice and comment period that closed on September 12, 2003.


The merchandise under consideration is a water polo cap. The water polo cap has an outer surface of nylon fabric that is coated with PVC on the inner surface. The cap has plastic ear protectors, two chin ties with one ending in a loop that holds three plastic rings to secure the cap on the wearer’s head.


Is the subject water polo cap classifiable under heading 9506, HTSUSA; which covers sports articles and equipment; under heading 6505, which covers hats and other headgear, knitted or crocheted, or made up from lace; or under heading 6506, which covers other headgear, whether or not lined or trimmed?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.

The water polo cap at issue is substantially similar in construction and function to the water polo cap classified in HQ 083434, dated December 4, 1989. The main difference between the cap at issue and that classified in HQ 083434, dated December 4, 1989, is that the body of this cap is lined with PVC on the inner surface. Nonetheless, both hats function to protect the athlete’s ears.


Heading 9506, HTSUSA, covers articles and equipment for gymnastics, athletics and other sports. However, note 1(g) to chapter 95 excludes sports headgear of Chapter 65 from consideration as sports equipment. Thus the water polo cap is not classifiable under heading 9506, HTSUSA.


Heading 6505, HTSUSA, covers hats and other headgear, knitted or crocheted, or made up from lace, felt or other textile fabric. The Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While the text of 6505, HTSUSA does not specifically preclude the water polo cap from classification therein, the EN to heading 6505 indicate that it is not ejusdem generis with the exemplars listed. The EN to heading 6505, HTSUSA, lists various types of knitted or crocheted headgear which fall within the heading. Among those enumerated are berets, bonnets, fezzes, mortar-boards, nun's headdresses, nurses caps and textile-covered pith helmets. The enumerated exemplars are generally worn as an accessory, for a spiritual purpose or to provide warmth. A water polo cap is not worn as an accessory, for spiritual purposes or to provide warmth, but rather is worn primarily for safety reasons, to protect the wearer’s ears from injury. It is our opinion, therefore, that a water polo cap is not of a class or kind with the above headgear.


Heading 6506, HTSUSA, provides for other headgear, whether or not lined or trimmed. The EN to heading 6506, state that the heading covers safety headgear, for sporting activities, military or firemen's helmets, motor-cyclists', miners' or construction workers' helmets, whether or not fitted with protective padding.

The article in question is protective in that it shields the wearer's ears from blows which might result from balls thrown during a water polo match. Water polo is a sport played at close quarters and the head, in particular, is exposed. The ear guards therefore afford the wearer's ears modest protection. Since the cap is designed to protect the wearer while participating in a sporting event, we find it to be classified as other headgear of heading 6506, HTSUSA.

This holding is consistent with other Customs rulings in which water polo caps have been classified in heading 6506, HTSUSA, under the provision for safety headgear. See HQ 083434, December 4, 1989 and NY J81748, dated April 16, 2003. It is also consistent with the classification of helmets used to protect bikers and skaters from head injury in heading 6506, HTSUSA. See NY D82764, dated October 9, 1998 and NY C84665, dated April 22, 1998.


NY F80551, dated December 29, 1999, is hereby revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.

The water polo cap is classified in subheading 6506.10.6045, HTSUSA, which provides for “Other headgear, whether or not lined or trimmed: Safety headgear: Other, Other: Athletic, recreational and sporting headgear.” The general column one rate of duty is free.


Myles B. Harmon, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: