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HQ 083832

May 31, 1989

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 083832 SR


TARIFF NO.: 6406.99.9000

Mr. Robert E. Heinl
A B Contracting Corp. Suite 1500, Two Penn Plaza Madison Square Garden Center
New York, N.Y. 10001

RE: Classification of removable insoles

Dear Mr. Heinl:

This is in reference to your letter dated January 26, 1989, requesting the tariff classification of removable insoles from Germany under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted.


The merchandise at issue, Article 43, Bama Alu-therm is a "super-thermal" removable insole. The insole consists of a synthetic fleece top layer which is sewn to a thin fabric backing. Below the fabric backing is a latex foam. Under the latex is a thin sheet of aluminum foil which serves to "keep ground cold out."

The sample at issue is not legally marked because of misleading marking on the packaging. On the front of the package "UK" and "US" are marked in reference to sizes. The "Made in Germany" is written in approximately half the size of "UK" and "US", and is on the reverse side of the package. To be considered legally marked, the "Made in Germany" must be written legibly and permanently and in comparable size to "UK" and "US". It must also be written in close proximity to the size marking. The country of origin must be seen in one observation without having to manipulate the article, in other words it must be printed on the same panel as the size markings.

It may be advisable to contact the Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement as to the legality of the statement "a top layer of pure lambswool." Because no statement is made as to
the weight breakdown of the fibers or of the wool fibers' status as virgin or reprocessed, this statement may be incorrect marking.


What is the classification of a removable thermal insole under the HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.

Under GRI 3(b) the material that imparts the essential character of the insole determines whether the merchandise is classifiable as an insole of man-made fibers, rubber, or other. Note 1, to chapter 54, HTSUSA, states: "Throughout the tariff schedule, the term "man-made fibers" means staple fibers and filaments of organic polymers produced by manufacturing processes." This would include the rayon staple and synthetic fleece as man-made fibers.

This insole was designed to provide thermal insulation. The top fleece layer of this insole consists of man-made fibers and wool. This layer is intended to hold warmth in and to provide extra comfort. The bottom layer of aluminum foil is intended to keep the ground cold out. The layer of latex provides cushioning and forms the shape of the insole. It is both the fleece that holds the warmth in and the aluminum foil that keeps the cold out that give this insole its insulation qualities. Since the essential character of the insole is not imparted by just one of the layers, classification must be according to GRI 3(c). Under GRI 3(c), goods that cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a) or 3(b), shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. The subheadings that equally merit condsideration are 6406.99.1540, HTSUSA, which provides for insoles of textile materials, and 6406.99.9000, HTSUSA, which provides for insoles whose essential character does not come from textile materials.


The insole at issue is classifiable under subheading 6406.99.9000, HTSUSA, which provides for parts of footwear: removable insoles, other, of other materials, other. The rate of duty is 18 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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