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NY D80220

September 22, 1998

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TA:347 D80220


TARIFF NO. 6402.99.90, 6406.99.1540

Mr. John B. Pellegrini
Ross & Hardies
65 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022-3219

RE: The tariff classification of footwear and shoe covers made in China.

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

In your letter dated July 30, 1998 you requested a classification ruling on behalf of your client, Reebok International, Ltd. for certain footwear identified as Model "3 in 1 DMX Lite," styles 46105, 46114, and 46115. You state that the styles are identical but for color.

You describe the sample, style 46114, as men's athletic footwear with an outer sole and upper of rubber/plastic. You state that the upper is less than 90 percent rubber/plastic when all accessories and reinforcements are included. The footwear does not cover the ankle and as you state will have a first cost in excess of $12.00/pair. The submitted sample features an attached textile shoe cover which you refer to as a "shroud." This "shroud" fits over the front of the shoe covering a substantial portion of the upper and completely covering the laces and tongue area. You state that the "shroud" is made of neoprene covered with man-made fiber. You describe it as being attached to the shoe by straps which go under the shoe and fit in grooves in the outsole and straps attached to the upper by means of rubber/plastic cleats at the rear topline of the shoe. You further state that the "shroud" is designed to provide additional support, stability and a tighter fit. You also state that the "shrouds" are sold as part of this footwear. The "shrouds" are available in full sizes, whereas the footwear is available in full and half sizes.

Your inquiry concerns two issues. The first is whether the footwear and "shrouds," if imported as a unit constitute composite goods. The second is the classification of the "shrouds" when imported separately.

As you state, HTS General Rule of Interpretation 3(b) ("GRI") provides, in pertinent part, that goods classifiable under two or more headings, such as composite goods made up of different components, are to be classified in the provision for the component which gives the composite good it's essential character. Explanatory Note IX to GRI 3(b) indicates that the term "composite goods" includes those with separate components, provided that the components are adapted one to the other, are mutually complementary and together form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. You explain that the components are adapted to be used together. The "shroud" is designed to fit this particular footwear. It is attached by means of grooves in the outsole and cleats in the upper. The footwear, because of the cleats on the upper are designed to accommodate a "shroud" would not normally be sold separately. We agree with your contention that the combination footwear/shroud, when imported as a unit, constitute composite goods. We also agree that the essential character of the footwear/shroud composite goods is imparted by the footwear.

The applicable subheading for styles 46105, 46114, and 46115 will be 6402.99.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, (HTS) which provides for footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics, not covering the ankle, other, other, valued over $12/pair. The rate of duty will be 20 percent ad valorem.

The "shrouds", if imported separately from the footwear, are as you state, useful adjuncts to the footwear but are not essential. Therefore, we agree that they are not classified as parts of footwear. Heading 6406 (HTS) provides for parts of footwear, removable insoles, heel cushions and similar articles: gaiters, leggings and similar articles, and parts thereof. While we do not find that the "shrouds" exactly fit the definition of any of the named articles of this heading, we feel that they are similar articles to gaiters, spats, purees and leggings.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines GAITER as; 1. A leather or heavy cloth covering for the legs extending from the instep to the ankle or knee.
2. An ankle-high shoe with elastic sides. 3. An over shoe with a cloth top.

Websters New Collegiate Dictionary defines GAITER as; 1. A cloth or leather leg covering reaching from the instep to the ankle, midcalf or knee.
2 An ankle high shoe with elastic gores in the sides. 3. An over shoe with a fabric upper.

The Explanatory Notes for HTS Subheading 6406 describe Gaiters, Leggings and Similar Articles and Parts Thereof ; These articles are designed to cover the whole or part of the leg and in some cases part of the foot (e.g., the ankle or instep). They differ from socks and stockings, however, in that they do not cover the entire foot.
They may be made of any material (leather, canvas, felt, knitted or crocheted fabrics, etc.) Except asbestos. They include gaiters, leggings, spats, purees, "mountain stockings" without feet, leg warmers and similar articles. Certain of these articles may have a retaining strap or elastic band which fits under the arch of the foot. The heading also covers identifiable parts of the above articles.

It is clear that a wide range of items may be referred to as gaiters. While we are not asserting that the "shroud" is a gaiter, we feel that it possesses enough of the characteristics of the items described in this subheading to be considered similar to gaiters.

The applicable subheading for the "shrouds" if imported separately from the footwear will be 6406.99.1540, (HTS) which provides for parts of footwear, removable insoles, heel cushions and similar articles; gaiters, leggings and similar articles, and parts thereof, other, of textile materials, of man-made fibers, other. The rate of duty will be 16.2 percent ad valorem.

The "shroud" falls within textile category designation 659. 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 this ruling letter 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 this ruling, contact National Import Specialist, Richard Foley at (212) 466-5890.


Robert Swierupski

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