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HQ 084029

June 15, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084029 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 6404.19.3560

Mrs. Judy L. Cook
Manager, Import Department
Pagoda Trading Company, Inc.
1950 Craig Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63146

RE: Identification of materials constituting the external surface area of footwear uppers

Dear Mrs. Cook:

In your letters dated April 19 and 20, 1988, you asked for a ruling as to whether certain material used as the external surface area of footwear would be considered as plastics or as textile. Swatches of material and three women's dress pumps with uppers of various imitation suede material were submitted for examination.


The various swatches submitted and their origin are listed as follows:

Material Factory

1. Nubuck PVC Nan Ya Plastics Corp.

2. Lammy Suede Poly San Fang Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

3. Union Poly Suede (Type 1) Chifa Leather Corp.

4. Embossed Union Poly Suede Chifa Leather Corp. (Type 2)

5. Oily Distress Poly Pony Leather Corp.

The women's pump, style VSC-792, has an upper of Poly Suede made by San Fang. The pumps, styles 58317W and 58340W, have uppers of Union Suede and Japan Lammy Suede, respectively, made by Chifa Leather.


Whether footwear having uppers of the sample material submitted will be considered to have uppers of plastics or of textiles?


It is clear that the upper materials, if imported as materials, would be classified in Chapters 50 to 60, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), as textile materials coated or impregnated with rubber or plastics. Thus, all the materials are textile materials for the purpose of Chapter 64, HTSUSA, following Explanatory Note (F) to that Chapter, which provides that "[s]ubject to the provisions of (E) above, for the purposes of this Chapter the expression 'textile materials' covers the fibres, yarns, fabrics, felts, nonwovens, twine, cordage, ropes, cables, etc., of Chapters 50 to 60."

The first material made by Nan Ya Plastics is called Nubuck PVC in your letter and Napa Suede in the maker's description. It is our position that this material has a plastic external surface.

The second material made by San Fang is called Lammy Suede Poly. It is our position that this material has a textile external surface.

The third and fourth materials made by the Chifa Leather are called Union Poly Suede. The description of the process is much clearer than San Fang's. We note that their statement makes it clear that you can change the results by changing the "DMF" percentage. Apparently, in the Wet-Process coagulated PU's, the polyurethane is not pure polyurethane, but polyurethane held in solution in a solvent called "DMF" (apparently Dimethylformadine). The percent of polyurethane relative to the amount of solvent can be varied to make it "richer" or "leaner" in polyurethane. This variation presumably produces different degrees of coating on the material after the "DMF" solvent is washed away, even before buffing (sanding) removes additional polyurethane from the top layers of the material. We note that except for the "richer" color, the material looks about the same to us in the "coated" area as it does in the uncoated selvedges. It feels about equally "velvety" as well. It is our opinion that this material has a textile external surface.

The fifth material made by Pony Leather is called "Oily Distress Poly." Under 30 power magnification one can see the underlying fibers about as well in the uncoated area as in the coated area. It appears like a printed fabric to us. We consider this material to have a textile external surface.

With respect to the material used in the uppers of the sample shoes, we note that the Poly Suede made by San Fang and the Union Suede made by Chifa Leather appear to be almost identical. The Japan Lammy Suede made by Chifa Leather appears to be a little more "velvety" to the touch and eye than the other two materials. Also, in cross section at 30 power magnification, more individual fibers can be seen. It is our position that all three materials have external surfaces of textile materials.


All the materials with the exception of Nubuck PVC have textile external surfaces.

The women's pumps are classifiable under subheading 6404.19.3560, HTSUSA, as footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather, or composition leather and uppers of textile materials, footwear of the slip-on type, that is held to the foot without the use of buckles or other fasteners, the foregoing except footwear of subheading 6404.19.20 and except footwear having a foxing or foxing-like band wholly or almost wholly of rubber or plastics applied or molded at the sole and overlapping the upper, other. The applicable rate of duty for this provision is 37.5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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