CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 958892 jb

Director, National Commodity Specialist Division
Attention: Wearing Apparel Branch
U.S. Customs
6 World Trade Center, Suite 716
New York, NY 10048-0945

RE: Double Difference with Buffalo; Classification of gloves

Dear Sir:

This letter is in response to your memorandum dated February 1, 1996, concerning a classification difference with the port of Buffalo.

The merchandise at issue is a pair of gloves, referenced style 09-3500, imported by Fargo Trading. The gloves are close fitting, unlined, and feature a palm side constructed of polyurethane coated fabric, nylon/spandex knit fourchettes, elasticized shirring on the leather back and wrist, and air vents. The palm material, which is identified as AQUATACK, provides a breathable and durable gripping surface.

In the past, Customs generally looked to a particular design feature, that is, reinforcement between the third and little fingers , in an equestrian riding glove. This reinforcement was necessary in the past to protect wear points and seams because of weaker thread and poorer leather quality. With the advent of stronger thread (nylon) and more durable coated fabrics, that feature is now considered more of a historical note and not as important to the glove. Additionally, the absence of that reinforcement makes the glove more comfortable for the wearer.

The Buffalo field import specialist believes the gloves, which are asserted by the importer as being sports gloves, may be used for other purposes. This view is based on a determination in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 957848, dated August 10, 1995, in which half-fingered knit gloves with a fold back mitten-like pouch were not considered sport gloves even though they were marketed with hunting and related sport equipment.

Your office has taken the position that factors such as the close fit of the gloves, the use of grip enhancing material and the elasticized back in conjunction with the advertising information, are clear indication that style 09-3500 is representative of gloves which belong to a class or kind of merchandise that are designed, marketed and sold for use in equestrian sports. We agree with your position. The gloves which were the subject of HQ 957848 did not exhibit any special characteristics indicating primary use for the outdoor sports indicated by the importer, namely, hunting, fishing, canoeing, archery and the like. Additionally, both the catalogue and the advertising material submitted by the importer were ambiguous at best. This is not the case with the subject gloves.

In Porter v. United States, 409 F. Supp. 757; 76 Cust. Ct. 97; Cust. Dec. 4641 (1976), the U.S. Customs Court held that certain motocross gloves, which contained special features such as a shortened palm, a reinforced thumb, an elastic band, protective strips or ribbing and an out-seam construction, evidenced that they were specifically designed for use in the sport of motocross. The same is true for the subject gloves. Features such as the close fit of the gloves, the nylon/spandex fourchettes, elasticized shirring on the leather back and wrist, and air vents, indicate gloves which will fit snugly and comfortably against the wearer's hand while providing the wearer with a steady grip when grasping reins. A review of the advertising material used to market this merchandise additionally supports the finding that these are equestrian gloves. The catalogue marketing this merchandise refers to gloves as "All purpose" and states that the gloves are "Perfect for training, working, driving or riding." The gloves come in men's, ladies and children's sizes. Fargo Trading, the importer in this instance, serves only one market- that is, the equestrian sport market, which includes riding, polo, driving (harness and carriage), jockeys and rodeo. Thus, the reference to the all purpose glove, that is, perfect for training, working, driving or riding, simply enumerates the variety of equestrian activities to which these gloves can be put to use.

Accordingly, we are in agreement with your view that the subject gloves, referenced style 09-3500, are classified as gloves used in equestrian sports.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals