CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089589 JS

Ludene Murphree
The Gap, Inc.
900 Cherry Avenue
San Bruno, CA 94066

RE: Arctic fleece ski glove; classifiable textile glove heading 6116, HTSUSA

Dear Ms. Murphree:

This is reference to your letter of April 26, 1991, requesting classification of a fleece glove under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


A sample of the merchandise was provided for our inspection. The glove at issue, style no. 4709, is a full fingered glove with fourchettes, and an outer shell of knit polyester fleece. An oval shaped piece of suede leather is sewn onto the palm and thumb portion of the glove. The lining is constructed with 100 percent brushed knit nylon fabric which has an interlining of Thinsulate material. A 3 1/2 by 2 3/4 piece of fabric backed vinyl with foam padding has been sewn underneath the knit material and across the knuckle area. The glove also features a partially elasticized wrist, and a hook and clasp.


Are the gloves at issue specially designed for use in the sport of skiing.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified 2

solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may be applied, in the order of their appearance.

Since the glove at issue is made of both leather and textile materials, which are classifiable under separate headings in the nomenclature, we must determine essential character under GRI 3(b) and Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b). In this case, it is clear that the textile portion of the glove imparts the essential character; all the primary surface areas of the glove are made of the fleece knit material, and it is this soft- textured material which undoubtedly serves as the basis for purchase of the item. The suede portion of the glove plays a minimal role in relation to the textile portion, in that it covers a very small area of the glove and is not otherwise prominent.

The proposed classification of these gloves rests on their apparent satisfaction of the requirements for ski gloves set forth in Stonewall Trading Company v. United States, 64 Cust. Ct. 482, C.D. 4023 (1970). Nonetheless, we believe that presence of the four Stonewall criteria in a glove is not the sole and final determination of a ski glove. We recognize only that the factors cited in Stonewall demonstrate prima facie that the subject merchandise is specially designed for skiing; failure of a glove to meet all of the Stonewall criteria will not prevent its classification as a ski glove, nor will satisfaction of the criteria automatically dictate classification as a ski glove.

Instead, the language of Stonewall must be interpreted in conjunction with the design for use of the manufactured articles, an analysis consistent with precedent and mindful of advances in the ski glove industry (HQ 082336, issued November 21, 1988)(citing Sport Industries, Inc. v. United States (1970), where the court, in interpreting the term "designed for use," examined not only the features of the articles but also the materials selected and the marketing, advertising, and sale of the article).

Since the subheading for knit ski gloves, HTS 6116.93, is a use provision, it is important to consider the glove as a whole to determine its use as a ski glove. In the present instance, despite evidence of each of the Stonewall requirements, several negative factors detract from classification of this glove as a ski gloves:

1) The glove has a soft fleece exterior which will absorb and retain moisture, stretch out of shape and/or expand, and dry slowly, characteristics highly unsuitable to the sport of skiing where contact with snow is a common occurance.


2) The overall appearance of this glove indicates its similarity to the gloves sold as cold weather gloves in most department stores. The primary use of fleece material indicates a design for comfort and warmth, rather than for use in sports.

3) No evidence of marketing or sale of these gloves as ski gloves was provided.

For the reasons stated above, and in the absence of definitive evidence that these gloves are principally used in or specially designed for the sport of skiing, these gloves may not be classified as ski or cross-country ski gloves.


The merchandise at issue, style no. 4709 is classified under subheading 6116.93.9020, which provides for gloves, mittens and mitts: other: of synthetic fibers: other: other, with fourchettes, textile category 631, dutiable at the rate of 19.8 percent ad valorem per dozen pairs.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since 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 your client check, close the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, the importer should contact the local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division