CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088499 DFC
Mr. William J. LeClair
Administrative and Regulatory Advisor
Trans-Border Customs Services, Inc.
One Trans-Border Drive, P.O. Box 800
Champlain, New York 12919
Dear Mr. LeClair:
In a letter dated December 20, 1990, addressed to our
Champlain Office, you inquired on behalf of L.P.A. Plastiques
Ltee., Mansonville, Quebec, Canada, as to the tariff
classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the
United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of kayaks manufactured
The descriptive literature submitted with your inquiry
illustrates kayaks differing only in certain physical
characteristics such as length, width, weight, height and
You maintain that a kayak is a canoe which is provided
for under subheading 8903.99.05, HTSUSA, as yachts and other
vessels for pleasure or sports, row boats and canoes, other,
row boats and canoes which are not of a type designed to be
principally used with motors or sails, canoes.
Is a kayak classifiable under subheading 8903.99.05,
HTSUSA, as a canoe, or is it classifiable under subheading
8903.99.15, HTSUSA, as a row boat?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by
the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides
that "classification shall be determined according to the
terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter
notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise
require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]."
In other words, classification is governed first by the terms
of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or
The Encyclopedia Americana (1989) in its treatment of
kayaks and canoes states in pertinent part as follows:
KAYAK. . . . In its primitive form as developed
by the Eskimo, a kayak is a light
one man-canoe consisting of a wood
or bone frame entirely covered with
sealskins except for a round cockpit
near the center where the paddler sits.
(Emphasis added.) He faces forward and
propels the kayak by left and right
strokes with a double-bladed paddle.
The Eskimo kayak, about 18 feet
(5.5 meters) long and not more than
20 inches (51 cm) wide, is used for
hunting and fishing.
Elsewhere than in the Arctic, the
kayak is used in sports and leisure
activities such as surfing, white-water
racing, and touring streams and lakes.
Sporting kayaks are usually made of
fiberglass. They may have a one-,
two-, or four-man capacity and a
length as great as 36 feet (11 meters).
See also Canoe and Canoeing.
CANOE AND CANOEING. The canoe is a
light, somewhat fragile water craft,
pointed at both ends and propelled by
means of a paddle or paddles, although
a sail or an outboard motor is sometimes
used. Canoes that are open from end to
end are often referred to as the Canadian
type; those that are completely covered
or "decked," except for a well or cockpit
where the paddler sits, are known as kayaks
(Emphasis added.) The Canadian-type canoe
is generally propelled with single-bladed
paddles. In both type of craft the paddler
faces the bow.
The canoe and kayak are two of the very
few primitive or native craft that have
survived among modern water craft. Both are
characterized by lightness, maneuverability,
versatility, ease of repair, silent operation,
and relatively inexpensive cost. The canoe
is widely used for economic and industrial
purposes, including prospecting, mining,
lumbering, and surveying, and is valued for
a variety of governmental projects relevant
to parks and forests. But the canoe and
kayak are best know for their application
in leisure activities such as touring and
camping. They are also used for racing and
for formal drills and stunts.
In view of the foregoing, it is our position that the
kayaks under consideration fall within the term "canoes" and by
reason of GRI 1 and GRI 6 are classifiable under item 8903.9905
The kayaks are entitled to free entry under subheading
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division
6cc AD NY
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