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NY K86225

June 10, 2004
CLA-2-61:RR:NC:3:353 K86225


TARIFF NO.: 6117.80.9540

Mr. John B. Pellegrini
McGuireWoods LLP
1345 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10105-0106

RE: The tariff classification of earmuffs from China.

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

In your letter dated May 18, 2004, on behalf of I. Shalom & Co., Inc., you requested a classification ruling.

The submitted sample is an earmuff constructed of plastic and textile. The earmuff is worn around the back of the head, rather than on top of the head like conventional earmuffs. The earmuffs have a five-part plastic frame: a frame and two two-piece ear covers; the oval shaped ear covers are covered on the exterior with flocking. A removable oval cover of knit man-made fiber fleece fabric and pile fabric is inserted onto the interior of the ear covers.

You suggest classification under subheading 3926.20.9050 as plastic clothing accessories. You state that the textile covers are not permanent and may be replaced, while the item could not function as an earmuff without the plastic frame. You further cite the cost of the plastic in the item (69%) and the weight of the plastic in the item (79%) as additional reasoning for a determination that the plastic imparts the essential character of the item.

Customs has consistently held that the textile ear coverings impart the essential character of earmuffs. The role of the textile ear coverings in relation to the use of the merchandise clearly indicates that the textile portion is indispensable to the functioning of this product. These materials ease the discomfort felt around the outer ear caused by cold temperatures. Plastic alone cannot function in this manner. (See rulings HQ 085012, dated August 7, 1989; and NY 814211, dated September 18, 1995)

The applicable subheading for the earmuffs will be 6117.80.9540, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Other made up clothing accessories, knitted or crochetedOther accessories: Other: Other, Of man-made fibers: Other.” The duty rate will be 14.6%.

The earmuffs 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 and their quota and visa status are the result of international agreements that are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas, which is available at our Web site at www.cbp.gov. In addition, 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 and should also be verified at the time of shipment.

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 Kenneth Reidlinger at 646-733-3053.


Robert B. Swierupski

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