United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0952998 - HQ 0953141 > HQ 0953045

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 953045

February 5, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953045 HP


TARIFF NO.: 4104.31.5010

Ms. Jean F. Maguire
Area Director, New York Seaport
U.S. Customs Service
Suite 716
6 World Trade Center
New York, N.Y. 10048-0945

RE: Request for Internal Advice No. 57/92. Classification of leather kip/calf sides from Argentina. Countervailing; duty

Dear Ms. Maguire:

This is in reply to memorandum CLA-2:S:C:TOB:201/111, from the Assistant Area Director, Commercial Operations Division, to the Assistant Area Director, National Import Specialist Division, attaching documents relating to Request for Internal Advice No. 57/92.


The merchandise at issue consists of hairless leather of bovine animals, imported from Argentina. The leather as imported consists of a whole hide cut in half lengthwise, with both sides included in the same shipment and each half being less than 14 square feet. Under the Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUS), the leather was entered under item 121.30, as calf and kip leather sides. Ralph Steinberg, Inc., the importer, argues that under the current tariff schedule, the merchandise should be classified as whole bovine skin leather not exceeding 28 square feet. You disagree, stating that the split sides should be classified as not "whole."


Whether imported leather sides which are actually whole hides cut in half are classifiable as whole leather hides under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that such "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 GRIs 2-4 in that order. GRI 6 extends this principle to the subheading level.

Subheading 4104.10, HTSUSA, provides for whole bovine skin leather not exceeding 28 square feet. The remaining subheadings within heading 4104, HTSUSA, provide for bovine skin leather other than "whole not exceeding 28 square feet." Following GRI 1, supra, it is clear that the drafters of the Harmonized System intended to exclude from subheading 4104.10 skins which, in their condition as imported, were not whole.

It was further argued by the importer that (1) since the imported sides are actually a whole hide cut in half, with both sides included in the same shipment, and (2) since American footwear manufacturers are not equipped to cut whole hides, and (3) since shipments of finished leather in whole hides are difficult to transport because of the width, the sides should be classified as unassembled or disassembled whole hides. You analogize this to a "knocked-down" machine, shipped unassembled to reduce packing and shipping costs, but classified under the provision for the completed machine.

GRI 2(a) holds that within a heading, any reference to an article includes unfinished, incomplete or disassembled articles, so long as those unfinished, incomplete or disassembled articles have the essential character of the completed articles. This Rule is not applicable to the instant merchandise. GRIs 2-4 are applied only when the terms of the headings "do not otherwise require." As we stated above, skins other than whole are excluded from subheading 4104.10, HTSUSA. To "disassemble" a whole skin by cutting it would circumvent the drafter's intent to exclude skins which were not whole.

Countervailing Duty Investigation No. C-357-803 covers, inter alia, bovine leather from Argentina. Upper and lining leather not exceeding 28 square feet, however, is excluded. Since no mention is made of the distinction between whole and cut skins, and since the CVD investigation was based upon TSUS items which did not differentiate between whole and cut skins, it is our opinion that CVD Investigation No. C-357-803 does not apply to the merchandise at issue.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 4104.31.5010, HTSUSA, as upper bovine leather without hair on, not whole, prepared after tanning. The applicable rate of duty is 5 percent ad valorem. Please note that pursuant to General Note 3(c)(ii)(D) to the HTSUSA, merchandise from Argentina classified under this subheading is not eligible for the duty-free treatment provided to beneficiary countries under the Generalized System of Preferences.

Please inform the importer that a copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: