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HQ 087837

November 23, 1990
CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087837 DFC


TARIFF NO: 6405.20.90

John M. Peterson, Esq.
Neville, Peterson & Williams
Counsellors At Law
39 Broadway
New York, New York 10006

RE: Classification of a child's textile slipper

Dear Mr. Peterson:

Your letter dated August 1, 1990, addressed to our New York office, concerning the tariff classification of a child's textile slipper manufactured in Hong Kong or South Korea, has been referred to this office for a direct reply to you.


The representative sample submitted with your inquiry is a child's textile slipper of the slip-on type. In its condition as imported, the slipper will feature an upper with an exterior composed of 100 percent knit acrylic, having a ribbed, attached knit "cuff" at the opening. The inside of the upper will have a nonwoven fiberfill batting attached to a layer of woven fabric, with a thin layer of foam plastic cemented between the lining and the exterior of the upper. The upper features a heel reinforcement which has slightly more padding than the rest of the upper. The bottom edge of the upper features a 3/4 inch band of 100 percent knit acrylic material, in a contrasting color, which wraps around the entire lower portion of the slipper. This band is connected by a single line of stitching to the rest of the upper and to the sole, but does not overlap either.

The slipper has an applied sole of woven man-made fiber textile material which features a lining of foam plastic and fiberfill batting. In its condition as imported, the exterior of the sole will be textile material only; after importation, the sole will be printed with a pattern of rubber/plastic anti-skid traction "dots."


Does the slipper in its condition as imported exhibit the essential character of footwear?


In applying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), the Customs Service must follow the terms of the statute. Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]." In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

GRI 2(a), HTSUSA provides as follows:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as presented, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule) entered unassembled or disassembled.

Prior to the advent of the HTSUSA, it was our position that uppers with closed bottoms and having no outer soles were unfinished footwear for tariff purposes. See Uniroyal v. United States, 3 CIT 220 (1982). Under the HTSUSA the same articles are considered to be parts of footwear because they do not have the essential character of footwear i.e., having both soles and uppers provided for in Headings 6401 through 6405, HTSUSA. We interpret this treatment of uppers affixed to inner soles as effectively eliminating for the purposes of Chapter 64 consideration of the slipper in issue in its contemplated finished condition. In other words, condition as imported will govern classification of the instant merchandise.

This office has ruled that several items which were clearly unsalable without the outersole which would be added in the United States were footwear parts in Heading 6406, HTSUSA. The sample slipper differs from those other items in that the rather heavy woven fabric "sole" would be plausible although unusual, as the outersole on a slipper sold to consumers. If we look to the finished slipper, most of the fabric of the sole will not be in contact with the ground in actual use. In the finished slipper, the outersole in contact with the ground will be predominately rubber or plastics (due to the extensive series of large, close together rubber or plastic figures that will be added).

It is our observation that the slipper in its imported condition will be marginally useful "as is" since some of the outersole of the finished slipper and all of the upper will be present in the import. Consequently, it is our position that the slipper exhibits the essential character of footwear.


The child's slipper is classifiable under subheading 6405.20.90, HTSUSA, as other footwear, with uppers of textile material, other. The applicable rate of duty is 12.5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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