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HQ 082143

March 21, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082143 DSN


TARIFF NO.: 6403.91.60

Mr. Juan B. Pombo
Globimpex, Inc.
1797 Alaqua Drive
Longwood, Florida 32779

RE: Tariff classification of HighShine military type boots

Dear Mr. Pombo:

This is in response to your letter of February 9, 1988, on behalf of Highmark Shoes, in which you requested a tariff classification ruling for high shine military type boots under the Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUSA), and under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The HTSUSA became effective on January 1, 1989. This ruling letter concerns HTSUSA classification only. A sample produced in Australia was submitted for examination.


The sample at issue is a pair of men's high gloss military type boots. They measure 10-1/2 inches high and feature a leather gusset tongue and a 10 hole metal ring lace closure. The sole of the boot is rubber which is attached by vulcanization. In your inquiry, you state that the leather upper has a "permair" finish on split leather, which is a process whereby a .3mm-thick film of polyurethane foil is laminated onto a base material of leather. The effect of this process is to create a lustrous mirror-like appearance resembling patent leather. The total thickness of the combined leather plus plastic laminate material is between 1.6 and 1.8mm.


Is the material of the upper considered to be leather or plastic under the HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the starting point is the terms of the headings and subheadings of the tariff and any relevant section and chapter notes.

Heading 4109, HTSUSA, provides for patent leather and patent laminated leather; metallized leather. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. Explanatory Note 2 to Subheading 4109, HTSUSA, describes "[p]atent laminated leather also known in the trade as patent coated leather as a material which is leather covered with a pre-formed sheet of plastics of a thickness exceeding 0.15mm but less than half of the total thickness and having the lustrous mirror-like appearance of patent leather. (Leather covered with a pre-formed sheet of plastics the thickness of which exceeds 0.15mm but is not less than one half of the total thickness falls in Chapter 39)" (Emphasis in original).

With respect to the instant merchandise, the material of the upper meets the Explanatory Note definition of patent laminated leather. The thickness of the pre-formed plastic film is .3mm, which is less than half the thickness of the 1.6-1.8mm total thickness of the leather and the plastic film combined.

Footwear is classified under Chapter 64, HTSUSA. Note 4(a) to Chapter 64 provides that the material of the upper shall be considered to be the constituent material having the greatest external surface area (accessories and reinforcements being ignored). Although Note 3 to Chapter 64 includes within the term "rubber or plastics" for footwear purposes any textile material visibly coated or covered externally with either or both materials, leather so coated or covered is not within that term. Thus, the upper material of the subject merchandise is not considered to be rubber or plastics.


In view of the foregoing, the HighShine military type boots are classified under subheading 6403.91.60, HTSUSA, which provides for footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather and uppers of leather, other footwear, covering the ankle, other, for men, youths and boys. The merchandise is dutiable at 8.5 percent ad valorem.

All prior rulings inconsistent with this ruling are hereby modified accordingly.


John Durant, Director

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