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HQ 083834

May 2, 1989

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 083834 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 1434, Bama Odor Stop is a removable insole designed to be used for odor absorption. The insole consists of a top layer of cotton fabric, then a layer of non-woven fabric, below that is a layer of non-woven fabric which has been impregnated with activated carbon, the bottom layer is texon (cellulose with a latex binder). A thin piece of cotton fabric is stitched around the perimeter of the insole to hold the layers together.

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 insole?


Subheading 6406.99, HTSUSA, provides for removable insoles. 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.

It is the activated carbon that absorbs odors. The carbon material (celulose with activated carbon) makes up 50 percent by weight of the insole. This insole does not provide extra padding or comfort to the foot; it is essentially for odor absorbtion. For these reasons it is the carbon material that imparts the essential character of this insole. This carbon material activates a non-woven fabric. This layer is not considered to be a textile material because Note 1(a) to Chapter 56, HTSUSA, excludes wadding, felt or non-wovens, that are impregnated, coated or covered with substances or preparations, where the textile material is present merely as a carrying medium.


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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