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Plastic-Dipped Knit Gloves Are Articles of Plastic, Manufacturer Argues on Appeal

The Court of International Trade incorrectly classified plastic-dipped knit gloves under Harmonized Tariff Schedule heading 6116 instead of under heading 3926, Magid Glove & Safety Manufacturing argued in a Dec. 28 brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Magid Glove & Safety Manufacturing v. U.S., Fed. Cir. #22-1793).

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The gloves at issue are knitted from man-made fibers that, following the knitting process, are dipped in polyurethane, resulting in plastic only covering the palm and portions of the gloves and fingers of each glove. Before the dipping process, the shell is in the shape of a complete glove and is knitted from yarn directly to a shape that covers the entire hand. Magid appealed a CIT March decision that upheld CBP's original classification of the gloves under subheading 6116.10.55 as "Gloves, mittens and mitts ...," dutiable at 13.2%. Magid argued for classification under the duty-free subheading 3926.20.10 as “Other articles of plastics and articles of other materials ... Gloves, mittens and mitts: Seamless."

In its March decision, CIT ruled that heading 3926 does not describe Magid's gloves because, "while comprised in part of a plastic material, the gloves are not 'of plastics.'" The ruling went on to explain that while the plastic sections of the gloves were more than "mere trimming" and "add[ed] functional characteristics" that did not necessarily establish the gloves properly belonged outside of heading 6116 (see 2203280037).

In its appeal, Magid argued that the 2019 Federal Circuit decision in Kalle USA v. U.S. controls the classification of the gloves. DOJ argued in its November response that Kalle was "inapplicable because it involved materially different tariff provisions than those at issue in this case." Magid also argued that CIT incorrectly interpretad of Section XI, Note 1(H), which excludes two types of goods from Section XI heading: "(1) woven, knit or crocheted fabrics, felt, or nonwoven, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics of Chapter 39 and (2) articles made from woven, knit or crocheted fabrics, felt or nonwovens, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics of Chapter 39." The government responded that CIT properly focused on the fact that the gloves were partially dipped in polyurethane after the knitting process, saying that Note 1(h) fails to describe Magid's gloves since they are not knitted or crocheted fabrics, felt or nonwoven, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with Chapter 39 plastics (see 2211090040).

Magid argued in its response brief that the classification hinges on the definition of "completely embedded," arguing that "if the knit fabric making up the shell of the glove is completely embedded in plastic, the gloves ... would be excluded from Section XI and, therefore, from Heading 6116 if they are also classifiable in Chapter 39." Magid said that the knit fabric in its gloves meets that definition and are therefore excluded from Section XI headings if the gloves are also classifiable in heading 39, which the company said they are.