On January 5, Totes-Isotoner Corp. filed suit in the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT), demanding refunds of duties paid on imports of men’s seamed leather gloves, claiming that the higher duty rate for men’s gloves as compared to women’s and children’s gloves violates the equal protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process clause. Men’s seamed leather gloves are dutiable at 14 percent ad valorem, while the duty rate for seamed leather gloves for women and children is only 12.6 percent. The complaint in Totes-Isotoner Corp. v. United States, Court No. 07-00001, alleges that this gender and age discrimination is unconstitutional.
At least two other importers have filed similar cases. Both Liz Claiborne Shoes and Wolf Shoe have filed complaints for refunds of duties paid on women’s, girls’ and infants’ leather upper footwear. The duty rate on such footwear is 10 percent, whereas the duty rate on the men’s leather upper footwear is only 8.5 percent. It is expected that other importers of products for which duty rates differ based on age or gender will also file claims in the CIT. Subsequent cases are likely to be stayed, pending the outcome of the Totes-Isotoner case.