CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088499 DFC

Mr. William J. LeClair
Administrative and Regulatory Advisor
Trans-Border Customs Services, Inc.
One Trans-Border Drive, P.O. Box 800
Champlain, New York 12919

RE: Kayaks

Dear Mr. LeClair:

In a letter dated December 20, 1990, addressed to our Champlain Office, you inquired on behalf of L.P.A. Plastiques Ltee., Mansonville, Quebec, Canada, as to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of kayaks manufactured in Canada.

The descriptive literature submitted with your inquiry illustrates kayaks differing only in certain physical characteristics such as length, width, weight, height and volume.

You maintain that a kayak is a canoe which is provided for under subheading 8903.99.05, HTSUSA, as yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports, row boats and canoes, other, row boats and canoes which are not of a type designed to be principally used with motors or sails, canoes.


Is a kayak classifiable under subheading 8903.99.05, HTSUSA, as a canoe, or is it classifiable under subheading 8903.99.15, HTSUSA, as a row boat?



Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]." In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

The Encyclopedia Americana (1989) in its treatment of kayaks and canoes states in pertinent part as follows:

KAYAK. . . . In its primitive form as developed by the Eskimo, a kayak is a light one man-canoe consisting of a wood or bone frame entirely covered with sealskins except for a round cockpit near the center where the paddler sits. (Emphasis added.) He faces forward and propels the kayak by left and right strokes with a double-bladed paddle. The Eskimo kayak, about 18 feet (5.5 meters) long and not more than 20 inches (51 cm) wide, is used for hunting and fishing.

Elsewhere than in the Arctic, the kayak is used in sports and leisure activities such as surfing, white-water racing, and touring streams and lakes. Sporting kayaks are usually made of fiberglass. They may have a one-, two-, or four-man capacity and a length as great as 36 feet (11 meters). See also Canoe and Canoeing.

CANOE AND CANOEING. The canoe is a light, somewhat fragile water craft, pointed at both ends and propelled by means of a paddle or paddles, although a sail or an outboard motor is sometimes used. Canoes that are open from end to


end are often referred to as the Canadian type; those that are completely covered or "decked," except for a well or cockpit where the paddler sits, are known as kayaks (Emphasis added.) The Canadian-type canoe is generally propelled with single-bladed paddles. In both type of craft the paddler faces the bow.

The canoe and kayak are two of the very few primitive or native craft that have survived among modern water craft. Both are characterized by lightness, maneuverability, versatility, ease of repair, silent operation, and relatively inexpensive cost. The canoe is widely used for economic and industrial purposes, including prospecting, mining, lumbering, and surveying, and is valued for a variety of governmental projects relevant to parks and forests. But the canoe and kayak are best know for their application in leisure activities such as touring and camping. They are also used for racing and for formal drills and stunts.

In view of the foregoing, it is our position that the kayaks under consideration fall within the term "canoes" and by reason of GRI 1 and GRI 6 are classifiable under item 8903.9905


The kayaks are entitled to free entry under subheading 8903.99.05, HTSUSA.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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