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HQ 084576

July 27, 1989

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 084576 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 response to your letter dated April 14, 1989, requesting the reconsideration of NYRL 834876 dated January 12, 1989, which provided the tariff classification of removable insoles from Germany under the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted.


The importer claims that the classification provided in NYRL 834876, is incorrect because the duty is a 3 percent ad valorem increase over duty paid under the Tariff Schedule of the United States (TSUS). The importer also feels this increase is excessive because the insole is a patented article.

In the course of developing the conversion of the TSUS to the HTSUSA, efforts were made to avoid tariff rate changes to the extent practicable and to simplify the tariff where possible without rate changes significant for U.S. industry, workers, or trade. Hearings were held under the direction of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, and negotiations were held among GATT partners to work out compensation for duty changes where necessary. It was not possible to develop the conversion without any changes at all. The HTSUSA is a new statute; it groups articles in different ways from the TSUS in some cases; and it uses different rules of classification. In applying the HTSUSA, the Customs Service must follow the terms of the statute. The fact that the article is a patented article is irrelevant to its classification.

The merchandise at issue, Article 1517, Bama Famoos is a removable insole that contains a layer of moss that is intended to keep the feet fresh, cool, and comfortable. The original request for ruling listed the component breakdown as 50 percent cotton fabric, 20 percent moss, and 30 percent latex foam with a cotton fabric. The recent April 4, 1989, letter states the breakdown as being 30 percent cotton, 45 percent forest moss, and 25 percent latex.


What is the classification of a removable moss 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.

Heading 6406, HTSUSA, provides for parts of footwear, 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. It is the moss that is the unique feature of this insole. The insole does not act as padding for the foot but is advertised as keeping the foot fresh, cool, and comfortable. It is the moss in the insole that provides this feature for which the article would be purchased. According to the recent submission letter the moss makes up 45 percent of the insole. If this is correct then the moss provides the most bulk as well as providing the major role of the article. It is the moss that provides the essential character of the insole.


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. NYRL 834876 is hereby revoked.


John Durant, Director

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