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HQ 950418

December 31, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950418 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 6404.10.35

Ms. Brenda D. Favorat
The Timberland Company
11 Merrill Industrial Drive
P.O. Box 5050
Hampton, NH 03842-5050

RE: Footwear; formed uppers; sock liner; HRL 088035; subheading 6404.10.35; U.S Note 4(a) to Chapter 64

Dear Ms. Favorat:

This is in response to your letter of September 6, 1991, concerning the classification of a footwear upper under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). A sample was submitted for our examination.


The subject footwear upper is made of nylon cordura. There is leather trim on the upper's collar and the tip of the tongue. The upper is not front or back part lasted. The subject textile footwear upper will be imported with a textile sock liner stitched onto the bottom. The sock liner will cover the interior bottom of the finished shoe.

The upper will be imported into the United States from the manufacturer in the Dominican Republic. The upper will then be lasted and bottomed in the United States to make it a complete shoe.


What is the proper classification of the subject footwear upper.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative chapter or section notes.

U.S Note 4 to Chapter 64, HTSUS, provides in pertinent part the following:

... [p]rovisions for 'formed uppers' covers uppers, with closed bottoms, which have been shaped by lasting, molding or otherwise but not simply by closing at the bottom."

In Headquarters Ruling Letter(HRL) 088035, dated February 1, 1991, this office stated that "[w]e consider the leather upper and the sock lining to be a formed upper for the following reasons:

1. the upper and sock lining are constructively assembled pursuant to GRI 2(a), HTSUS;

2. the upper is both front part and back part lasted; and

3. since the upper and sock lining are constructively assembled, we will treat the bottom as being closed."

Pursuant to guideline 3 in HRL 088035, the bottom of the subject upper is considered closed. Therefore, according to U.S. Note 4(a) to chapter 64, the first part of the formed upper test has been met.

The next issue to be decided is whether the upper has been shaped by "lasting, molding or otherwise but not simply by closing at the bottom." The subject upper has not been front part or back part lasted. However, it is our position that lasting is not the only method by which an upper may be shaped and that the shaping in the subject upper could not have resulted from "simply closing at the bottom". The instant upper has stiffeners that have been molded or pressured into curves at the toe and heel, giving the upper shape. When we removed the stitching in the toe and heel, the upper maintained its shoe shape. Therefore, this shaping could not have resulted from closing the upper at the bottom with a stitched on sock liner. The upper has been shaped by molding and stiffening. Thus, the instant upper is a formed upper as it has closed bottom and it is shaped by more than simply closing it at the bottom.


The subject footwear upper is classified in subheading 6406.10.35, HTSUS, which provides for uppers and parts thereof, other than stiffiners, formed uppers of textile materials, other, valued over $6.50 but not over $12/pair. The rate of duty is 90 cents/ pr + 20 percent ad valorem. If the shoes are valued over $12 per pair, the HTSUS classification is in subheading 6404.10.40, HTSUS, and the duty rate would be 20 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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