For textile and apparel fans who aren’t registered for our ST&R-TAP™ Advisor service, here is an interesting tidbit from its October 6, 2011 edition:
In an October 3 decision in LeMans Corporation v. U.S., the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) upheld a lower court decision that motocross jerseys, motocross pants and motorcycle jackets are classified as apparel under HTSUS chapters 61 and 62. Specifically, the ruling affirmed U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s classification of the jerseys as other manmade fiber pullovers and similar articles in HTSUS 6110.30.30 (32 percent duty rate), the pants as other manmade fiber garments in HTSUS 6210.40.50 (7.1 percent duty rate) and the jackets in HTSUS 6201.93.30 (7.1 percent duty), 6201.93.35 (27.7 percent duty) or 6201.92.15 (6.2 percent duty).
LeMans argued that these items should be classified as sports equipment under HTSUS Chapter 95 because they are so highly specialized for use during motocross or motorcycle riding that any apparel-like features are incidental to the primary purpose. LeMans cited the CAFC’s 2003 decision in Rubie’s Costume Co. v. U.S., which held that Customs appropriately classified certain costumes as festive articles under HTSUS Chapter 95 rather than as wearing apparel under Chapter 61 because the costumes were worn only on rare occasions, included “one-size-fits-all” varieties, and were “flimsy” and “lacking in durability.” However, the CAFC states, unlike those costumes the subject merchandise in this case shares more characteristics with ordinary apparel, coming in different sizes and having the durability to be worn repeatedly. In addition, whereas the comfort features of the costumes were secondary, all of the articles at issue here are designed to provide optimal fit and comfort while participating in the sport.
In addition, the CAFC states, the subject items are not classifiable as sports equipment. The vast majority of the examples of sports equipment listed in the Explanatory Notes to Section 9506 are not items worn on the body but instead are articles that are entirely separate from the user (e.g., tennis nets, playground equipment), held in the hand (e.g., golf clubs, tennis rackets) or fastened to a user (e.g., skis, ice skates). The few examples that a user actually would wear are almost exclusively used for protection and would complement, or be worn in addition to, apparel worn for a particular sport.