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NY A87938

November 1, 1996

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:3:346 A87938


TARIFF NO.: 6405.20.3090 ; 6111.20.6040

Mr. J. Epstein
W. N. Epstein & Co., Inc.
PO Box 45187
St. Louis, MO 63145

RE: The tariff classification of infant's soft soled shoes and socks from China.

Dear Mr. Epstein:

In your letter dated October 2, 1996, on behalf of E.J. Footwear, Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The submitted samples consists of a pair of infant's cotton soft soled shoes and a pair of knit cotton infant's socks packaged together in a single box for retail sale. The shoes have separately applied, stitched-on cotton textile outer soles. The socks are knit, with lace trim around the top, and constructed of 80% cotton and 20% spandex fibers. You state that you also propose to import this shoe and socks "set" in bulk packaging in an egg crate type carton consisting "12 layers of 12 sets in a master carton". After importation, single pairs of shoes and socks will be repacked into individual boxes, similar to the small boxed sample you actually submitted.

Determinations as to whether socks and shoes are properly classified as a composite article, a set or as individual, separately classified items, are made under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represents the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI's. Since socks and shoes do not normally constitute an inseparable whole, adapted one to the other as mutually complementary, and because they are routinely bought and sold separately, the pertinent Explanatory Note IX leads to the conclusion that they do not qualify to be classified together as a "composite good" or a "set" under GRI 3(b), HTSUS. Additionally, Explanatory Note X(c) to GRI 3(b) provides that the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which are suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. Your secondary proposal to import these shoes and socks in bulk egg crate type packaging will also definitely negate any consideration that these goods comprise a composite good or a set.

The applicable subheading for the infant's shoes will be 6405.20.3090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for footwear, in which the outer sole's external surface is not predominately rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather; in which the upper's external surface is predominately textile materials; which has a line of demarcation between the sole and the upper; and in which the upper, by weight, predominately consists of vegetable fibers such as cotton or flax (linings, accessories and reinforcements not included). The rate of duty will be 7.5 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the infant's socks will be 6111.20.6040, HTS, which provides for babies' garments and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted, of cotton, other, other. The rate of duty will be 8.5 percent ad valorem.

The socks fall within textile category designation 239. Based upon international textile trade agreements, products of China are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist James Sheridan at 212-466-5889.


Roger J. Silvestri

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