United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
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HQ 083727

February 12, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083727 JLJ


TARIFF NO.: 6402.91.70

Ms. Yvonne Williams
B B C International Inc., Suite 6712
350 Fifth Avenue Ltd.
New York, New York 10118

RE: Men's high top sneaker

Dear Ms. Williams:

You requested a tariff classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for a men's high top sneaker, style Prowings/H.S. You submitted component parts of the shoe along with a written breakdown of the surface area measurements of the upper.


The sample submitted, style Prowings/H.S., is a men's high top sneaker. It has a multilayered upper with a unit molded bottom, the sidewalls of which overlap the upper by as much as 1/2 inch. External appearances indicate that the upper consists of leather vamp sections, a large padded PVC collar, a mudguard, a back counter and eyelet stays.


If an outer layer of material completely covers and hides another surface, should the outer layer be considered to be part of the external surface of the upper, or should the totally hidden material be considered to be part of the external surface of the upper?


You submitted a sample shoe and component parts of the instant shoe along with your letter. You state that component "Exhibit A" is the actual upper consisting of the leather vamp and quarters, PVC collar and canvas back center, lower vamps and lower quarters. You argue that all other PVC components are "reinforcements" which are not to be considered to be part of the external surface of the shoe. When the PVC overlays are placed on "Exhibit A," however, all the canvas components are completely covered by these overlays.

Note 4(a) of Chapter 64, HTSUSA, which covers footwear, states "The material of the upper shall be taken to be the constituent material having the greatest external surface area, no account being taken of accessories or reinforcements such as ankle patches, edging, ornamentation, buckles, tabs, eyelet stays or similar attachments...." While Note 4(a) does not specifically define the term "external surface area," it does state specifically what is not part of the external surface, and the excluded items imply a definition of external surface area.

Items like ankle patches, edging, ornamentation, buckles, tabs and eyelet stays embellish or strengthen the surface to which they are being added. They do not hide the underlying surface to the extent that the consumer is unaware that the original surface exists. A piece of material which does not constitute a visible part of the external surface of the upper of the finished shoe at any point, however, should not be considered to be part of the external surface of the upper.

In the instant shoe, all of the canvas components of "Exhibit A" are completely hidden in the finished shoe. It is our opinion that the PVC back counter and mud guards which cover the canvas "back counter" and side edges should be counted as part of the external surface area of the upper. When the surface area of the PVC back counter and mud guards is added to the other components of the upper, the predominant component of the external surface of the upper is plastic and/or rubber; therefore, the instant shoe is classifiable in Heading 6402, HTSUSA, which covers other footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics.


The instant shoe has an upper with an external surface which is predominantly rubber and/or plastics. It is classified under the provision for other footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics: other footwear: covering the ankle: other: other: valued over $3 but not over $6.50 per pair, in subheading 6402.91.70, HTSUSA, dutiable at the rate of 37 1/2 percent ad valorem plus 90 cents per pair.


John Durant, Director

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