CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 964901 TMF

John Pellegrini, Esquire
Ross & Hardies
Park Avenue Tower
65 East 55th Street
New York, New York 10022-3219

RE: Revocation of NY G86506; classification of camouflage printed fleece gloves; sports gloves; specially designed for use in hunting

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

This letter is in response to your letter dated March 6, 2001, in which you requested on behalf of your client, Paris Asia, Ltd., reconsideration of NY G86506, dated February 13, 2001, classifying four styles of camouflage printed fleece gloves in subheading 6116.93.9400, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter along with a sample was forwarded to this office for our reply. We have reviewed NY G86506 and have found the ruling to be in error. Therefore, this ruling revokes NY G86506.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C 1625(c)), notice of the proposed revocation of NY G86506 was published on December 12, 2001, in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN, Volume 35, Number 50. Two comments were received in response to the notice.


The sample submitted, identified as Style Number 134104, is a half-fingered glove composed of polyester rayon fleece fabric that is printed in a green and brown camouflage style. It has an elasticized wrist and hemmed cuff. The palm side portion of the glove is composed of cellular polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic overlay material that extends across the palm portion and is sewn on top of the fleece fabric. The three additional styles classified in NY G86506 differ only in their camouflage patterns and are identified by style numbers 131104, 132104, 133104.

In NY G86506, Customs classified the articles as knit gloves of man-made fibers within subheading 6116.93.9400, HTSUS, which provides for "Gloves, mittens and mitts, knitted or crocheted: Other: Of synthetic fibers: Other: Other: With fourchettes."

You asserted that the articles are classifiable as sports gloves within subheading 6116.93.0800, HTSUS, as the gloves are specially designed for use in sports. You also submitted three advertisements of similarly constructed half-fingered fleece gloves. In each ad, the items are depicted as hunting gloves. Two of the ads indicate that the gloves are “perfect for gun or bow hunting” and that they will “protect your hands from biting cold.” Also provided are copies of hangtags to indicate the particular camouflage pattern used. In addition, a copy of the retailer's “Ozark Trail” tag is shown.


Whether the gloves are classified as “gloves…specially designed for use in sports” within subheading 6116.93.0800, HTSUS.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1, HTSUS, provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, HTSUS, and if the headings or notes do not require otherwise, the remaining GRIs 2 through 6, HTSUS, may be applied.

Additionally, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) are the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. We refer specifically to the Explanatory Notes, which govern heading 6116, HTSUS. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

6116 Gloves, mittens and mitts, knitted or crocheted: 6116.93 Of synthetic fibers: 6116.93.0800 Other gloves, mittens and mitts, all the foregoing specially designed for use in sports, including ski and snowmobile gloves, mittens and mitts,

Other: Other: 6116.93.8800 Without fourchettes 6116.93.9400 With fourchettes

GRI 3b

The subject articles are composed of PVC material and polyester rayon material. If the PVC material imparts the essential character to the gloves, classification under Chapter 39, HTSUS, would be appropriate. However, if the synthetic, woven textile material imparts the essential character of the gloves, classification under Chapter 62, HTSUS, would be appropriate.

Inasmuch as the instant gloves are composed of different materials, GRI 3 is applicable. Its relevant portions read as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods . . . those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete description of the goods.

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The EN for GRI 3(b) reads, in pertinent part, as follows:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In applying the criteria set forth in EN VIII to GRI 3(b), we find it is possible to make a definitive essential character determination in this instance.

In past rulings, Customs has often analyzed the role of the palm material in relation to the use of the glove in making an essential character determination. See Headquarters Ruling Letters (HQ) 951752 (9/2/92); HQ 085561 (12/6/89); HQ 083656 (6/6/89); and HQ 956463 (9/8/94). In those rulings, the various palm materials imparted the essential character to the gloves because the materials were clearly designed to enhance the wearer's "grip" while he or she participated in such activities as snow skiing, jet skiing, golfing and biking. Some of the palms had specialized features such as padding and a nub-like texture in order to enhance grip.

However, unlike the glove rulings above, the instant gloves differ as the PVC material does not extend from the fingertips to the wrist. Rather, the PVC material is limited to the palm. Also, since the PVC material covers less than 30% of the surface area, we do not believe that it contributes to the overall appeal of the gloves and is not dispositive of the gloves’ use. Therefore, we find that the polyester rayon fleece material imparts the essential character to the gloves.

Design and use in a sport

In order for the gloves at issue to be classified within subheading 6116.93.0800, HTSUS, we must consider the following: (1) whether hunting is a sport, and (2) whether the gloves at issue are specially designed for use in hunting. See HQ 951219, dated June 26, 1992 (classifying a leather motorcycle-racing glove as a glove for use in sports within subheading 4203.21.8060, HTSUS).

The term “sport” is defined by The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, the Unabridged Edition (1983) as: "1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc. 2. a particular form of this, esp. in the out of doors." Hunting clearly meets the definition of a sport. Further, Customs has taken the position that hunting and shooting activities are sports for tariff purposes. See HQ 088981, dated July 18, 1991 (referring to HQ 083694, dated May 16, 1989, and HQ 066484, dated January 7, 1981.)

As subheading 6116.93.0800 is a use provision, we consider the glove as a whole in order to determine its use as a hunting glove. In determining whether the subject gloves are specifically designed for use in hunting, we consider HQ 089769, dated October 8, 1991. In that ruling, Customs recognized the following glove design characteristics as indicative of "some intent to design gloves as hunting gloves." The cited features include:

- a non-skid reinforcement, which includes the two shooting fingers; - a camouflage outer shell or outer shell with enhanced visibility; - insulation that enhances warmth without creating excess bulk; and - a hook and clasp closure.

As the instant glove meets three of the four criteria set forth above, we find evidence that the intent to design the article as hunting gloves is present. First, the palm area of Style 134104 is covered with a textured surface to impart a non-skid reinforcement. Second, the gloves are designed with hunting in mind. The brown and green camouflage gloves allow the wearer to conceal his/her hands when necessary. Third, the glove is made of a material that provides warmth without creating unwanted bulk.

Not only does Style 134104 possess three of the four features, thereby creating a presumption that the gloves are specifically designed as hunting gloves, its half-fingered design provides better grip and access to a firearm or bow during hunting. See HQ 957042, dated January 18, 1995 (noting that a brown and black camouflage glove met four criteria of HQ 089769, but also had additional features such as a finger-tip access to the trigger and "action back" pleat design which are indicative of a design for use as a hunting glove within subheading 6216.00.4600, HTSUS.)

Based on the foregoing evidence, we find that the gloves have been specially designed for sports use, including, but not limited to hunting, and therefore warrant classification under subheading 6116.93.0800, HTSUS, which provides for, inter alia, gloves specially designed for use in sports.


Style Numbers 131104, 132104, 133104 and 134104 are classified as gloves especially designed for use in sports within subheading 6116.93.0800, HTSUS. The general column one duty rate is 3.3 percent ad valorem.

NY G86506, dated February 13, 2001, is hereby revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division