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HQ 956287

May 18, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956287 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 6402.19.90

Herbert J. Lynch Esq
Sullivan & Lynch, P.C.
156 State Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02109

RE: Footwear, sports; Boots, mountaineering; Band, foxing- like

Dear Mr. Lynch:

In a letter dated April 19, 1994, on behalf of Nordica Sportssystems USA, Inc., you inquired as to the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of three styles of mountaineering boots which Nordica intends to import from Italy. A sample boot, identified as Asolo style AFS 103, which is representative of styles AFS Expedition and AFS Supersoft, was submitted for examination.


You state that these boots, which weigh approximately three pounds each, and are retail valued at between $500 and $600 per pair, are designed for use at the professional level by serious and expert climbers who engage in high altitude mountain climbing and glacier hiking. According to the literature provided, the boots are comprised of four basic components; innerboot, frame, shell and shank, all specially designed for mountaineering. The sample has a rubber sole, a plastic upper and a plastic coated inner boot. A foxing-like band encircles the entire perimeter of the boot. The sole is constructed with a ridge extension at the toe and an indentation at the heel to allow for the attachment of steel cleats. A steel cleat attachment is on the sample. However, the boots will not be imported with the cleat attachment.


Are these mountaineering boots considered "sports footwear" for tariff purposes?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS 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.

Subheading note 1(a) to Chapter 64, HTSUS, reads as follows:

1. For the purposes of subheading 6402.11, 6402.19, 6403.11, 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;

You maintain that the boots in issue qualify for classification as "sports footwear" for the following reasons:

1. mountain climbing is a sporting activity,

2. these boots are designed for mountain climbing; and

3. they have a provision for the attachments of spikes, sprigs, cleats, stops, clips, bars or the like (e.g., a ridge extension at the toe and an indentation at the heel to allow for the attachment of the cleat piece).

We agree that these boots are designed for a sporting activity, viz, mountain climbing. Their rigidity and design features render them unsuitable for use as cross country hikers. The catalog and attached hand-tags indicate that they are marketed for use in mountaineering. Further, the presence of the ridge extension or lip at the toe and heel persuades us that the requirement in Chapter 64, Subheading note 1(a) , HTSUS, " . . . or has the provision for the attachments of spikes, sprigs, cleats, etc. . . . " has been met.


The three styles of Nordica boots qualify as "sports footwear" within the meaning of that term as set forth in subheading 1(a) to Chapter 64, HTSUS.

These boots are classifiable under subheading 6402.19.90, HTSUS, which provides for other footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics, sports footwear, other, having uppers of which over 90 percent of the external surface area (including any accessories or reinforcements such as those mentioned in note 4(a) to this chapter) is rubber or plastics, and having a foxing-like band, other, valued over $12/pair. The applicable rate of duty for this provision is 20% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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