Rialto International, Inc.
P.O. Box 24583
Seattle WA 98124
RE: The tariff classification of a Corkball from China.
Dear Ms. Dearinger:
In your letter of October 4, 1999, you requested a reconsideration of New York ruling D85543 dated December 30, 1998, regarding the tariff classification of a corkball on behalf of Markwort Sporting Goods Company.
You have submitted further information in support of your belief that corkballs should be classified in the provision for baseballs and softballs, subheading 9506.69.20, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).
Corkballs are sport balls designed for use in the game of Corkball. The balls are substantially smaller than regulation baseballs at 61/2-inch circumference and at 1.8 to two ounces weigh significantly less than a baseball.
Subheading 9506.69.20, HTSUS, is not limited to baseballs of the regulation size and weight prescribed by the governing body of Major League Baseball®. The provision is intended to include those baseballs designed and approved for use in Little League® and in the elementary levels of youth leagues and the specialty balls used in the training and practice of the game of Baseball. It would cover, for example, the 81/2 inch, 2.5 ounce Soft Baseball designed for the very beginning (4-7+ yrs) youth leagues and T-Ball leagues, the Soft Core training baseball, the Reduced Injury Factor Baseball and other training baseballs illustrated in various catalogs. It would even include the baseball designed and labeled as the Jr. Size Batting Practice Ball illustrated in a manufacturer’s catalog which is smaller at 71/2 inches and weighs about four ounces less than ordinary game baseballs. These specialty baseballs, however, are still significantly larger and heavier than the Corkball and, unlike the Corkball, are dedicated to use in the sport of Baseball.
We believe it is fair to say that corkballs are not designed for use in the play or practice or training of the game of baseball but are primarily if not solely used in the play of Corkball, a game having some common features with baseball but played according to its own “Official Corkball Rules,” requiring its own unique ball and bat and “played in leagues around the country.”
Nothing in your literature indicates to us that the corkball shares the same performance characteristics of a baseball or that it is an effective or common substitute for a baseball in the play or practice of Baseball.
Unless and until the corkball is considered suitable for use in organized baseball practice or game play in youth baseball leagues, school programs, Parks department recreational baseball programs, or the like, we remain of the position that subheading 9506.69.60, HTSUS, which provides for other sport balls, most accurately describes this merchandise. Subheading 9506.69.2040, HTSUS, the provision for baseballs, includes just that – the balls designed for use in the practice and play of the game of Baseball. To extend the scope of this tariff subheading to include balls designed for and principally used in a game known as Corkball or any other field game is to go beyond the intent of the framers of the Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature.
The applicable subheading for the Corkball will be 9506.69.6020, HTSUS, which provides for “Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports…Balls, other than golf balls and table-tennis balls: Other, Other, Other.” The rate of duty is 4.9 percent ad valorem.
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 (212) 637-7015.
Robert B. Swierupski Director, National Commodity Specialist Division