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December 6, 1996

HQ 959177

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959177 RH


TARIFF NO.: 6402.99.1845

John B. Pellegrini, Esq.
Ross & Hardies
Park Avenue Tower
65 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022-3219

RE: Men's Footwear; Heading 6402; Uppers of Plastics; "Visible to the Naked Eye"

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

This is in response to your letter of March 14, 1996, requesting a binding classification ruling on a men's three-eyelet oxford under subheading 6402.99.18 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). You submitted one shoe for our review.


The shoe under consideration is a men's three-eyelet oxford with a rubber/plastic outsole, model number M129X. The upper is made of cotton fabric, which you claim has been impregnated with acrylic and covers more than ninety percent of the upper portion of the shoe. You contend that the acrylic coating is "visible to the naked eye" and, therefore, the shoe should be classified under subheading 6402.99.18, HTSUSA.


Whether the upper portion of the shoe is constructed of textile materials or of plastics?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. The heading in question is 6204 which provides for "other footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics."

In interpreting the terms of the headings, Customs looks to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes, which, although not legally binding, are recognized as the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level.
Explanatory Note (E) to Chapter 64 addresses the issue in this case. It states that the expression "rubber or plastics" includes any textile material visibly coated or covered externally with one or both of those materials. This means that the coating or covering is able to be seen with the naked eye with no account being taken of any resulting change of color.

In this case, the shoe was analyzed by a Customs laboratory which confirmed that the external surface of the upper consists of a cotton woven fabric which has an application of an acrylic/pigment material. We have also examined the submitted sample and compared it with a sample of a coated woven fabric in another case (Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 958424, dated March 4, 1996), in which we found the coating to be visible to the naked eye. The coating in the instant case is similar to the coating in HQ 958424. Therefore, we find that the acrylic coating on the submitted sample is visible to the naked eye, and the shoe is classifiable under subheading 6402.99.1845, HTSUSA.


The men's three-eyelet oxford shoe, model M129X, is classified under subheading 6402.99.1845, HTSUSA, which provides for "Other footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics: Other footwear: Other: Other: Other: For men: Other." It is dutiable at the general rate of duty at 6 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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