CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083450 DSN

Mr. Roger Heumann
Olympia Sports Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 10
1010 Third Avenue
New Hyde Park, New York 11040

RE: Classification of gloves

Dear Mr. Heumann:

This ruling letter is in reference to your request of December 8, 1988, for classification of gloves under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A glove was submitted for examination. The gloves will be imported from Korea, Pakistan or China.


The glove at issue, style "summer", is composed of 71 percent cowhide leather and 24 percent knit nylon. The leather portion covers the front portion of the glove and the nylon fabric is on the back. The glove contains 2 pairs of decorative rivets on each side of the leather front. The glove has an elastic Velcro-closure at the wrist.

According to your submissions the glove is a multi-sport glove to be used in various sports such as; bicycling, cross- country skiing, ATV-motorcycle racing and boating. You claim that because the leather palm is padded slightly and the thumb is reinforced, that the gloves have extra durability and are more comfortable while engaging in the above mentioned sports. In addition, you assert that the combination of leather and textile provides breathability and a better fit which reduces fatigue in the hands while participating in these sports.



How are gloves composed of leather and textile classified under the HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. The glove at issue cannot be classified pursuant to GRI 1 since more than one heading describes the glove. The leather component of the glove constitutes more than trimming (see the general Explanatory Notes to Chapter 62, HTSUSA), and thus cannot be ignored for tariff purposes.

Since the glove at issue is composed of leather and textile, classification is according to GRI 3. Previously, our position regarding similar gloves was that GRI 3(a) applied, resulting in the heading providing the most specific description being applicable. HRL 082149 of March 20, 1989. However, we concluded in HRL 084537 of June 14, 1989, that the two competing provisions, heading 4203 and heading 6216, are equally specific, and therefore, GRI 3(b) is applicable.

Heading 4203, HTSUSA, provides for articles of apparel and clothing accessories, of leather or of composition leather. The chapter notes to chapter 42, state that for the purposes of heading 4203, the expression "articles of apparel and clothing accessories" applies, inter alia, to gloves. This note is incorporated into heading 4203 so that the heading covers gloves of leather.

Heading 6216, HTSUSA, provides for gloves, mittens and mitts. The chapter notes to chapter 62, state that the chapter applies to made up articles of any textile fabric. As with the notes to chapter 42, this note is incorporated into heading 6216, and the provision covers gloves of textile. Since both headings are equally specific as to the description of this merchandise, we cannot determine classification according to GRI 3(a).

GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods which cannot be classified by GRI 3(a), shall be classified according to their essential character. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. According to the Explanatory Notes, essential character may be determined by the nature of the component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.


With respect to the glove at issue, the quantity, weight and value of the leather is significantly greater than the textile. It is our opinion that the leather imparts the essential character, and therefore the glove is classified in heading 4203, HTSUSA.

We must now determine whether at the subheading level the merchandise at issue is classified as "specially designed for use in sports". You assert that since this glove is designed as a multi-sport glove and can be used in many different sports it should be classified accordingly. We disagree. Our interpretation of the term "specially designed for use in sports", is that the glove has to have special design features particular to that sport. You have not demonstrated how the glove at issue has design features for use in any of the sports mentioned. Comfort, breathability and the thumb being reinforced does not show special design features for the sports you list. Most gloves whether they are designed for a sport or not contain those features. Thus, classification is precluded at the subheading level under gloves specially designed for use in sports.

We note the burden of proof is usually on the importer to provide us with the necessary information to determine whether their gloves are specially designed for use in sports. That information may include, but is not limited to, catalogs, advertisements, marketing strategies, and design features. Although you submitted brochures of other gloves your company sells, the glove in question is not included, and therefore, these brochures along with the lack of design features do not comply with your burden of proof.


The glove at issue is classified under subheading 4203.29.1500, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of apparel and clothing accessories, of leather or of composition leather, gloves, mittens and mitts, other, other, with fourchettes or sidewalls which, at a minimum, extend from fingertip to fingertip between each of the four fingers, and dutiable at the rate of 14 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division