23 Sept 2016
Many Woven Apparel Classifications Modified to Implement Recreational Performance Outerwear Provisions
The tariff classification of many woven apparel products, including recreational performance outerwear as well as a broad range of items that do not fall within the scope of that term, was changed as of 22 August. The change was part of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s modification of the Harmonised Tariff Schedule of the United States to implement new tariff classification provisions included in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.
Among the many provisions included in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 that was enacted into law on 4 January are brand new eight-digit and ten-digit tariff classifications for “recreational performance outerwear” in Chapter 62. This term covers trousers (including ski or snowboard pants as well as ski or snowboard pants intended for sale as parts of ski-suits), coveralls, bib and brace overalls, jackets (including full zip jackets, ski jackets, and ski jackets intended for sale as parts of ski-suits), and windbreakers and similar articles (including padded, sleeveless jackets), the foregoing of fabrics of cotton, wool, hemp, bamboo, silk, manmade fibres or a combination of such fibres, that are:
• either water resistant within the meaning of additional U.S. note 2 to Chapter 62 or treated with plastics (or both);
• with critically sealed seams; and
• with five or more of the following features:
- insulation for cold weather protection;
- pockets, at least one of which has a zippered, hook and loop, or other type of closure;
- elastic, draw cord or other means of tightening around the waist or leg hems, including hidden leg sleeves with a means of tightening at the ankle for trousers and tightening around the waist or bottom hem for jackets;
- venting, not including grommet(s);
- articulated elbows or knees;
- reinforcement in one of the following areas: the elbows, shoulders, seat, knees, ankles or cuffs;
- weatherproof closure at the waist or front;
- multi-adjustable hood or adjustable collar;
- adjustable powder skirt, inner protective skirt or adjustable inner protective cuff at sleeve hem;
- construction at the arm gusset that utilises fabric, design or patterning to allow radial arm movement; or
- odour control technology.
The term “recreational performance outerwear” does not include occupational outerwear.
The USITC amended the HTSUS on 22 August to implement the new tariff provisions for these products. While duties on all affected apparel remain the same, the new classifications are causing some confusion in the trade community in part because they also affect a wide range of woven garments that do not qualify as recreational performance outerwear. Indeed, a little known fact of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 is that the tariff classification of many everyday woven apparel products such as jeans had to be changed to be able to establish separate tariff provisions for recreational performance outerwear.
For example, in the case of men’s cotton woven blue denim trousers, the old classification for these garments (HTSUS 6203.42.4011) has been replaced with HTSUS 6203.42.0711 for trousers that qualify as recreational performance outerwear and HTSUS 6203.42.4511 for trousers that do not qualify as recreational performance outerwear. In the case of women’s and girls’ cotton woven water resistant anoraks and windbreakers, other than down-filled anoraks and windbreakers, the old classification (HTSUS 6202.92.1500) has been replaced with HTSUS 6202.92.0500 for items that qualify as recreational performance outerwear and HTSUS 6202.92.3000 for items that do not qualify as recreational performance outerwear.
To illustrate the magnitude of these changes, the official pdf copy of Chapter 62 has nearly doubled in length (from 71 to 145 pages) and the number of 10-digit tariff lines within that chapter has increased from 974 to 1,287. While the updated tariff schedule initially contained a number of inadvertent errors, it appears that most, if not all, of these errors have since been corrected.