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HQ 952233

February 10, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952233 ch


TARIFF NO.: 8708.99.5085

Vahan Chertavian
Arjan U.S.A., Ltd.
1616 Wicomico Lane
Virginia Beach, VA 23464

RE: Classification of a shoe heel protector; floor mat; De Luxe Scuff Guard; part and accessory for a motor vehicle; heading 8708; not a floor covering; Chapter 57.

Dear Mr. Chertavian:

This is in response to your letter of June 3, 1992, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for the De Luxe Scuff Guard. A sample was provided to our office for examination.


The subject merchandise, the De Luxe Scuff Guard, is a shoe heel protector used when driving an automobile. The guard fits under an automobile's accelerator and brake pedal so that the driver's heel will rest upon it.

The Scuff Guard is composed of a textile pad and a rubber mat. The textile pad comprises the upper surface of the article and acts as the cushion/protector for the heels. The 6 inch by 11 inch pad is composed of a sliver knit pile fabric laminated to a 3/8 inch polyurethane foam. The approximately 7/8 inch thick pile is stated to be composed of polyester.

The replaceable textile pad is affixed to the rubber base mat with a double stick adhesive. The 7 3/4 by 12 3/4 inch rubber mat has a 6 by 11 by 3/8 inch deep recess designed to hold the textile pad. Small molded rubber stubs affixed to the underside of the rubber base hold the article in place.


Whether the subject merchandise is properly classified in Chapter 57, HTSUSA, which provides for carpets and other textile floor coverings, or heading 8708, HTSUSA, which provides for parts and accessories of motor vehicles?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied in order.

Chapter 57, HTSUSA, encompasses carpets and other textile floor coverings. Note 1 to Chapter 57 states:

For the purposes of this chapter, the term "carpets and other textile floor coverings" means floor coverings in which textile materials serve as the exposed surface of the article when in use and includes articles having the characteristics of textile floor coverings but intended for use for other purposes. (Emphasis added).

In Request for Internal Advice No. 8/92, HQ 951216, dated March 31, 1992, we stated:

Chapter 57, HTSUSA, provides for carpets and other textile floor coverings. In Customs Ruling 073533, dated June 15, 1984 and 079509, dated April 1, 1987, it was held that floor coverings must be of a minimum size to indicate suitability for use as a floor covering. According to a trade survey, as a rule of thumb, this type of upholstery fabric or "carpeting" must measure over 4 square feet in area to be considered useful for its intended purpose and to distinguish a floor covering from merchandise destined for other uses. Such a size was not to be regarded as an absolute but as a convenient approximate guideline. (Emphasis added).

The above quoted language suggests that, generally, a "carpet" must measure 4 square feet in order to be considered a textile floor covering.

We hasten to add that this minimum measurement is not a hard and fast rule. The size of the "floor" to be covered is also a factor in determining what minimum measurement is necessary to qualify as a floor covering. However, in this case the Scuff Guard measures 7 3/4 by 12 3/4 inches in its entirety. The size of this article is small even in relation to a conventional automobile floor mat, which takes up most of the "floor" space available to it in the interior of a motor vehicle. Under these circumstances we are of the opinion that the Scuff Guard is not large enough to qualify as a "floor covering" under Chapter 57, HTSUSA.

Heading 8708, HTSUSA, provides for parts and accessories of motor vehicles. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 8708 read, in pertinent part, as follows:

Parts and accessories to this heading include:

(B) Parts of and associated accessories, for example...floor mats (other than of textile material or unhardened vulcanized rubber).

The EN to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN when interpreting the HTSUSA.

The EN cited above state that "floor mats" are considered parts and accessories of motor vehicles unless made of textile material or vulcanized rubber. As the Scuff Guard is comprised of a textile pad and rubber mat, one could argue that it should not be classified as an accessory of a motor vehicle. Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary (1984) defines the term "mat" as follows:

1. A flat piece of fabric or other material used for wiping one's shoe or feet, or in various other forms as a floor covering. (Emphasis added).

As stated above, the Scuff Guard is not considered to be a "floor covering" under the HTSUSA. Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that the Scuff Guard is not a "floor mat."

As the subject article is not a "floor mat," we may look to see if it is classifiable as a part and accessory of a motor vehicle. The Scuff Guard is designed to fit underneath the accelerator and brake pedal of an automobile in order to protect the heel of a shoe. It is difficult to imagine another use for this product. Hence, we conclude that it is suitable for use solely or principally with a motor vehicle.

In addition, the Scuff Guard does not appear to be excluded as a "part and accessory" pursuant to Section XVII, Note 2.

Finally, as the merchandise is not a "floor covering" classifiable in Chapter 57, it does not appear to be more specifically described elsewhere in the Nomenclature.

Accordingly, the Scuff Guard is properly classified as a part and accessory of a motor vehicle under heading 8708.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 8708.99.5085, HTSUSA, which provides for parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705, other parts and accessories, other, other, other, other. The applicable rate of duty is 3.1 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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