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HQ 087459

October 2, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087459 KWM


TARIFF NO.: 6404.11.90

Ms. Jane Laurie
Air Express International Agency, Inc.
8500 Osage Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90034

RE: Kemper Snowboards; snowboard ski boot; footwear; sports footwear; ski boot; upper of textile material; upper less than 50 percent leather; outer sole of plastics.

Dear Ms. Laurie:

This will acknowledge receipt of your letter dated May 31, 1990, regarding the tariff classification of boots for snowboard skiing. Your letter and samples of the goods have been forwarded to this office for a ruling. After consideration of the information and samples you provided, we have determined that the boots should be classified as set forth below.


Your correspondence requested a classification ruling for two styles of boot, both for use with a snowboard ski. Because you have provided a description and sample for only one style, our holding here is binding only for that style. However we have suggested what we believe is the appropriate classification for the second style based on our experience with similar merchandise.

The boot styles at issue here are referred to by you as the "Alpine" and "Flight" models. A sample of the "Alpine" model was included with your request. It consists of two parts: a removable inner liner and an outer shell. The information included with your letter indicates that the "foot portion" of the shell is made of molded plastic. Likewise, the outer sole is entirely of plastic. The upper portion of the shell is made of a thick plastic layer to which a white woven fabric lining and a black woven fabric outer layer are laminated. The tongue of the boot is plastic, as are the decorative overlays.

The "Flight" model is identical in most respects except that the uppers are described as being of leather rather than plastic laminated with textile material.


How are these goods classified under the Harmonized

Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relevant Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may be applied, taken in order.

Although your letter did not expressly state that such was the case, we assume for the purposes of this ruling that the liner and outer shell will be imported as a retail unit. Classification of the outer shell component, therefore, will provide classification for the merchandise as a whole.

The headings of Chapter 64 provide for the classification of footwear. The provisions of each heading are distinguished by the component material which comprises the outer sole and/or the upper. We note that heading 6404, HTSUSA, may include this merchandise. It provides for, in pertinent part:

6404 Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather and uppers of textile materials:

Footwear with outer soles of rubber or plastics:

In this case, classification in heading 6404, HTSUSA, hinges on the determination that the plastics and textile uppers of these boots are classified as textile materials. We believe that they are. Our decision is based on the information you provided, and an examination which indicates that the surface of the uppers is primarily textile material according to Legal Note 4(a) to Chapter 64 (no account be taken of ornamentation, etc.). This finding is subject to verification by the port of entry.
Within heading 6404, HTSUSA, subheading 6404.11, HTSUSA, provides for:

6404.11 Sports footwear; tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like:

The term "sports footwear" is defined in Subheading Legal Note 1 to Chapter 64, HTSUSA, as:

1. For the purposes of subheading 6402.11, 6402.19, 6403.19, and 6404.11, the expression "sports footwear" applies only to:

(a) Footwear which is designed for a sporting activity and has, or has provision for the attachment of spikes, sprigs, cleats, stops, clips bars or the like;

(b) Skating boots, ski-boots, and cross-country ski footwear, wrestling boots, boxing boots and cycling shoes.

(Emphasis added). Further, Additional U.S. Legal Note 2 provides that:

2. For the purposes of this chapter, the term "tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like" covers athletic footwear other than sports footwear (as defined in note 1 above), whether or not principally used for such athletic games or purposes.

(Emphasis added). We need not decide here whether the "ski- boots" described as sports footwear in Subheading Legal Note 1(b) encompasses goods such as these. The provisions of the subheading read in conjunction with the Legal Notes, as prescribed by GRI 1, clearly indicate that the instant merchandise is encompassed by the subheading terms regardless of whether we consider them "ski-boots" "sports footwear" or "athletic footwear other than sports footwear." That intent is obvious from a reading of the tariff provisions. The instant merchandise is a type of footwear, and snowboarding (or snowboard skiing) is as much a sport (or athletic activity) as the other activities specified in the subheading and legal notes. Further, the notes make clear that, at least for "athletic footwear", the item need not be used principally for such athletic purposes. It is sufficient, as in this case, that the boots possess attributes which indicate their suitability for a sport or activity: a stiff sole, textile laminated plastic uppers, and an insulated liner. Some features distinguish the sample boots from ordinary insulated winter boots; other are more common.

Footwear with less than 50 percent exterior surface of leather is classified in the "other" provisions of 6404.11, HTSUSA. This subheading is further divided based on the value per pair. The instant goods described as the "Alpine" style have less than 50 percent exterior surface of leather, and are valued at over $12.00 per pair. We believe that the goods described as the "Flight" style would have uppers of which over 50 percent of the external surface area is leather (See subheading 6404.11.20, HTSUSA).


The goods described as "Alpine" style snowboard boots are classified as "sports" or athletic footwear included in subheading 6404.11.90, having uppers of which less than 50 percent is leather, valued at over $12.00 per pair. These goods are dutiable at the rate of 20 percent ad valorem.

No binding classification is provided for the goods described as "Flight" style snowboard boots due to the absence of an adequate description and/or a representative sample.


John A. Durant
Commercial Rulings Division

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