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HQ 085542

October 11, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085542 JMH


TARIFF NO.: 8453.20.00; 8477.80.00

James A. Green Jr. & Co.
4006 Industrial Dr.
P.O. Box 1200
St. Charles, Missouri 63301

ATTN: Stan

RE: Suteau Unit Outsole Rougher

Dear Stan:

Your communication of August 4, 1989, requesting a classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA) for the Suteau Unit Outsole Rougher has been referred to this office for a reply.


The merchandise in question, the Suteau Unit Outsole Rougher, is imported from Italy. The Rougher is designed to rough rubber, PVC, polyurethane, or similar materials. Once the material is roughed, cement is applied. The machine handles units with a lip up to 9/16 inch (15mm) deep and 3/8 inch (10 mm) wide. It can rough soles with a heel height up to 23/8 inch.

The Suteau Rougher uses carbide or high speed steel cutters of various profiles. The profile used is dependent upon the type of material and profile of the sole to be roughed. Three independent motors are used to drive the cutter, feed the sole and remove the scraps. The cutter speed and the feed speed are adjustable. Cutting pressure is applied by an adjustable counter weight system which can be overridden by the use of a foot pedal. The Suteau Rougher can rough up to 150 pairs of soles per hour depending on the contour of the soles to be roughed.


Whether the Suteau Rougher is classifiable within heading 8453, HTSUSA, as "Machinery...for making or repairing footwear or other articles of hides, skins or leather, other than sewing
machines...", or within heading 8477, HTSUSA, as "Machinery for working of rubber or plastics or for the manufacture of products from these materials..."


The classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 states in part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes..." The competing headings are headings 8453 and 8477, HTSUSA. The headings describe:

8453 Machinery for preparing, tanning or working hides, skins or leather or for making or repairing footwear or other articles of hides, skins or leather, other than sewing machines; parts thereof..

8453.20.00 Machinery for making or repairing footwear...

8477 Machinery for working rubber or plastics or for the manufacture of products from these materials, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof...

8477.80.00 Other machinery...

You contend that heading 8453, HTSUSA, describes the merchandise in question. Although the machine is used in shoe manufacture and repair, the Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA suggest that the Suteau Rougher cannot be classified as such. The Explanatory Notes are to be looked to for guidance when determining the proper interpretation of the HTSUSA. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). Explanatory Note 84.53 states
some machines of the heading...can be used for materials other than leather (e.g., cardboard, imitation leather or plastics); they remain, however, in this heading provided they are clearly designed to be used mainly for hides, skins or leather." (original emphasis) Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, Vol. 3, p. 1263.

The key question is what is the principal use of the Suteau Rougher. Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a) provides that when goods are classified by use, the controlling use is the principal use. The Suteau Rougher is mainly used for
roughing rubber or plastic soles, as is demonstrated by the marketing literature. Although it is capable of roughing other materials, its principal use is for non-leather materials. Therefore, the Suteau Rougher is not classifiable within heading 8453, HTSUSA.

It is the opinion of this office that the Suteau Unit Outsole Rougher is classifiable within heading 8477, HTSUSA, as "Machinery for working rubber or plastics..." The principal use of the machines in the manufacture and repair of shoes is for the roughing of rubber, PVC and polyurethane soles -- the working of rubber or plastics.


The Suteau Unit Outsole Rougher is classifiable under subheading 8477.80.00, HTSUSA. The rate of duty is 3.9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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