Rulings, remedies and court proceedings for customs and trade professionals

Importer of Balance Ball Chairs Says Its Chairs Are Furniture, Not Exercise Equipment

Fit for Life, a company that partners with brands such as Gaiam, Reebok, New Balance and Adidas, said at the Court of International Trade that CBP should have classified its imported balance ball chairs as seats of rubber or plastic, a duty-free provision under Harmonized Tariff Schedule heading 9401, rather than as “other articles and equipment for general physical exercises” under heading 9506, which carries a 4.6% duty (Fit for Life LLC v. U.S., CIT # 20-00004).

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The company originally filed its summons in 2020. The court granted it four deadline extensions to file its complaint, which it did Jan. 30.

Each balance ball chair consists of a large, inflated rubber ball seated in a plastic frame with caster wheels. Fit for Life called the product “a contemporary and stylish chair designed to mesh with modern office environments.”

It asked the court to direct CBP to reliquidate its entry under the desired heading, refund the excess duties it paid, and, “as it deems proper,” compensate attorney’s fees and costs.