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NY L87844

October 19, 2005

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 L87844


TARIFF NO.: 9506.99.2000

Rhoda A Salus
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
The Waterford
5200 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami FL 33126-2022

RE: The tariff classification of a 5-pad girdle apparel from China.

Dear Ms Salus:

In your letter dated September 26, 2005 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, the Russell Corporation.

The merchandise, identified as the Bike 5-Pad Football Lower Garment, is said to be specifically designed for use only while playing football or soccer to protect the wearer from injury. The 5-pad girdle garment is constructed of 84 percent polyester fabric and 16 percent spandex knit fabric. It measures 20 inches long from the top of the 1½ inch wide black elastic waistband to the bottom of the hemmed leg openings. The garment incorporates five non-textile, thick foam, and non-removable protective pads: two placed vertically on each front panel and one in the center back of the garment. The sample is being returned at your request.

Heading 9506 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) provides for, among other things, “Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, [and] other sports”

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System state at heading 9506 that the heading covers three categories of merchandise: (A) Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics or athletics; (B) Requisites for other sports and outdoor games; and (C) Swimming and paddling pools. The ENs to the heading specifically state that category (B) includes: “Protective equipment for sports or games, e.g. fencing masks and breast plates, elbow and knee pads, cricket pads, shin-guards.” However, the ENs to heading 9506 also state that sports clothing of textiles of chapter 61 and 62 is excluded from all of chapter 95, HTSUSA, including heading 9506.

Textile articles, such as the instant girdle apparel, that are worn on the person while participating in sports and incorporate guards, pads, or foam are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Articles of this nature will be classified as protective sports equipment in heading 9506, HTSUSA, if they are primarily worn for protection in sport and are akin to the protective sport equipment exemplars set forth in the EN to heading 9506. Generally, they will incorporate thick non-textile protective guards or pads that are designed exclusively for protection against injury, that is, having protective features with the sole or primary function of directly absorbing the impact of blows, collisions, or flying objects. Generally, these non-textile protective guards will be non-removable or specially fitted to be inserted into textile parts of the articles, made of hard plastic or thick foam, and make the articles impractical to use as everyday wearing apparel. In our opinion, the subject Bike 5-Pad Football Lower Body Garment is such an article. It provides protection akin to the exemplars set forth in the EN to heading 9506 and is solely or primarily used for protection in the conduct of sport or game activities. Therefore, it is classified as protective sports equipment in heading 9506, HTSUSA.

The applicable subheading for the 5-pad girdle garment will be 9506.99.2000, HTSUSA, which provides for articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports (including table-tennis) or outdoor games, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; swimming pools and wading pools; parts and accessories thereof: other: other: football, soccer and polo articles and equipment, except balls, and parts and accessories thereof. The rate of duty will be free.

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 646-733-3025.


Robert B. Swierupski

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