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HQ 086033

February 15, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086033 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 6405.90.9000

Mr. Michael F. Watson
A.W. Fenton Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 360614
Columbus, Ohio 43236-0614

RE: Ladies' "furskin" boots

Dear Mr. Watson:

This is in response to your letter, dated October 18, 1989, on behalf of your client Mrs. Sylvia Bery, concerning the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) and the country of origin marking for ladies' "furskin" boots, style number 1845, from Uruguay. A sample boot was submitted with your request.


The submitted sample is a leather boot, style number 1845. The boot is approximately 12 inches high. The outer sole is made of rubber and the external surface area of the upper is made of "reversed" sheepskin.


(1) Does the merchandise at issue meet the country of origin marking requirements?

(2) Whether the sample boot is classifiable under subheading 6403.91.90, HTSUSA, which provides for footwear with uppers of leather, or whether it is more properly classifiable under subheading 6405.90.9000, HTSUSA, which provides for footwear with uppers of other than leather, textiles, rubber, or plastics?


Issue #1 - Country of Origin Marking

Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), requires that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin, imported into the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or container) will permit in such manner as to indicate to an ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article. The primary purpose of the country of origin marking statute is to mark goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will. National Juice Products Association v. United States, 10 CIT 48, 628 F. Supp. 978 (1986), and United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 CCPA 297, 302, C.A.D. 104 (1940). The regulations implementing the requirements and exceptions to 19 U.S.C. 1304 are set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations, 19 CFR Part 134. Moreover, pursuant to 134.41(b) of the Regulations, the ultimate purchaser in the United States must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. 19 CFR 134.41(b). Any marking that satisfies the criteria set forth in the above regulations will be acceptable for marking purposes. In the instant case, since your merchandise has no country of origin marking, we cannot comment on your method of marking your merchandise at this time.

Issue #2 - HTSUSA Classification

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

Within the limits of Chapter 64, it is the constituent material of the outer sole and the upper that determines tariff classification under headings 6401 to 6405, HTSUSA. The issue in this case is whether the sample fur boot has an upper of leather or of "furskin" for tariff purposes. Note 4(a) to Chapter 64 provides:

(a) The material of the upper shall be taken to be the constituent material having the greatest external surface area, no account being taken of accessories or reinforcements such as ankle patches, edging, ornamentation, buckles, tabs, eyelet stays or similar attachments.

In determining whether the boot is made of "furskin" or leather, we must also consider Chapter 43 which covers "Furskins and Artificial Fur" as well as the accompanying Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. Explanatory Note 1 to Chapter 43 states the following:

Throughout the Nomenclature references to "furskins," other than to raw furskins of heading No. 43.01, apply to hides or skins of all animals which have been tanned or dressed with the hair on.

Furthermore, the Explanatory Notes to heading 4302 provide further guidance in determining whether the hair on the boot is considered to be "furskin" or leather. The Explanatory Notes state, in pertinent part, that:

It is to be noted that skins with the hair on, of the kinds excluded from heading 43.01 (such as pony skins, calfskins, and sheepskins), fall in this heading if tanned or dressed.

In the instant case, the upper of the boot is made of tanned or dressed sheepskin with the hair still attached. Customs has previously determined in Headquarters Ruling Letter 085565, dated December 12, 1989, that a slipper with an upper of reversed sheepskin should be considered to have an upper of "furskin" and not "leather" for tariff purposes. Thus, this determination precludes classification of this article under subheading 6403.91.90, HTSUSA, which provides for footwear with uppers of "leather." Accordingly, it is Customs position that the sheepskin boot is more properly classifiable under subheading 6405.90.9000, HTSUSA, which provides for footwear in which the upper's external surface is predominately other than leather, composition leather, textile materials or rubber and/or plastics.


The sample merchandise is classifiable under subheading 6405.90.9000, HTSUSA. The applicable rate of duty is 12.5% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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