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HQ 080486

August 5, 1988

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 080486 jlj


TARIFF NO.: 700.59

Mr. Jose R. Reyes
Humberto Vidal, Inc.
P.O. Box 21487
Rio Pedras, Puerto Rico 00928

RE: Is a buffed polyurethane surface on footwear considered to be plastic for tariff purposes?

Dear Mr. Reyes:

You requested a tariff classification for a woman's shoe from Taiwan.


You state that the upper is made of a fabric which has been covered with wet polyurethane. It is our understanding that wet polyurethane was coagulated, dried by a heating machine, and buffed by a sanding machine to achieve its soft, fine finish. A sample of the material used to make the upper was submitted along with your letter.


The issue is whether the velvety surface area on the exterior surface area of the upper (ESAU) should be considered to constitute a plastic surface for tariff purposes. If it is considered plastic, then the shoe is eligible for classification under the provision for other footwear which is over 50 percent by weight of rubber or plastics or over 50 percent by weight of fibers and rubber or plastics and having uppers of which over 90 percent of the exterior surface area is rubber or plastics (except footwear having foxing or a foxing-like band applied or molded at the sole and overlapping the upper), in item 700.56, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS).


Schedule 7, Part 1, Subpart A, Headnote 3, TSUS, provides that:

For the purposes of items 700.51 through
700.56, the rubber or plastics forming the exterior surface area specified, if supported by fabric or other material, must coat or fill the supporting material with a quantity of rubber or plastics sufficient to visibly and significantly affect the surface otherwise than by change in color, whether or not the color has been changed thereby.

When the ESAU of the sample swatch is viewed in cross section under a microscope, individual fibers are visible. A technical analysis indicates that the ESAU is basically a top coated fiber surface and that there is not a continuous coating on the ESAU. It is Customs position, as stated in Customs Headquarters Ruling Letter 079283 of September 11, 1987, that only materials in which the top layer is plastic unmixed with fiber are considered to have a plastic surface for footwear purposes.


In view of the foregoing, we find that the instant footwear is not classified under the provision for other footwear...having uppers of which over 90 percent of the exterior surface area is rubber or plastics...in item 700.56, TSUS. Instead, we find that the instant footwear is classified under the provision for footwear of the slip-on type, in item 700.59, TSUS, dutiable at the rate of 37.5 percent ad valorem.

The proposed Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is scheduled to replace the TSUS. The HTSUSA subheading applicable to the instant merchandise is 6404.19.3560, which provides for other footwear of the slip-on type for women, with duty at the rate of 37.5 percent ad valorem. This classification represents the present position
of the Customs Service regarding the dutiable status of the merchandise under the proposed HTSUSA. If there are changes before enactment, this advice may not continue to be applicable.


John Durant, Director

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