New tariff classifications for recreational performance outerwear such as ski-wear have had a knock-on impact on  items outside this term

New tariff classifications for recreational performance outerwear such as ski-wear have had a knock-on impact on items outside this term

Modifications to the tariff classifications of many woven apparel products to cover recreational performance outerwear have had a knock-on – and confusing – impact on products such as jeans.

The adjustments to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) have been made by the International Trade Commission in order to implement new tariff classification provisions included in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (TFTEA) of 2015.

However, according to US trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, the new classifications are causing some confusion in the apparel trade community because they also affect a wide range of woven garments that do not qualify as recreational performance outerwear.

Among the many provisions included in the TFTEA, which 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), 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 US note 2 to Chapter 62 or treated with plastics (or both);
  • with critically sealed seams; and
  • with five or more of the following features:

1. insulation for cold weather protection;
2. pockets, at least one of which has a zippered, hook and loop, or other type of closure;
3. 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;
4. venting, not including grommet(s);
5. articulated elbows or knees;
6. reinforcement in one of the following areas: elbows, shoulders, seat, knees, ankles, or cuffs;
7. weatherproof closure at the waist or front;
8. multi-adjustable hood or adjustable collar;
9. adjustable powder skirt, inner protective skirt, or adjustable inner protective cuff at sleeve hem;
10. construction at the arm gusset that utilises fabric, design, or patterning to allow radial arm movement;
11. odour control technology.

The term "recreational performance outerwear" does not include occupational outerwear.

While duties on all affected apparel remain the same, the new classifications are causing some confusion because 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 those that do not.

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 those that do not.

To illustrate the magnitude of these changes, the official PDF copy of Chapter 62 has more than doubled in length (from 71 to 145 pages) and the number of ten-digit tariff lines within that chapter has increased from 974 to 1,287. 

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