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April 13, 1999

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TA:347 D89809


TARIFF NO.: 6405.20.9015

Ms. Jane Sheridan
8300 Maryland Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63105

RE: The tariff classification of footwear from China

Dear Ms. Sheridan:

In your letter received by this office on March 24, 1999 (dated by you, December 11, 1998) you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The submitted sample, no style number indicated, is a child’s slipper with a textile upper, a rigid insole board and a separately sewn-on, non-woven textile outer sole. The textile sole has six narrow (under 1/8-inch wide) squiggly lines of a transparent rubber/plastic material, under 1/16-inch thick, that are spaced widely apart across the width of the sole. The lines are positioned in pairs, about 1/4-inch apart, two in the toe area, two in the middle and two lines in the heel area.

Note 4(b) to Chapter 64 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), states that the constituent material of the outer sole shall be the material having the greatest surface area in contact with the ground, no account being taken of accessories or reinforcements such as spikes, bars, nails, protectors or similar attachments. We do not consider these plastic/rubber “lines”, which you state are needed to provide traction, to be excludable as accessories or reinforcements since they do not resemble the given exemplars in Note 4(b). With this requirement in mind, past Customs rulings have held that various factors should be considered in determining the constituent material of the outer sole, including the softness or rigidity of the sole and the size, shape and placement of traction dots, or in this case lines, on the sole. In the instant case, it is the determination of this office that even with this fairly rigid sole, the presence of these three pairs of less than 1/16-inch thick, 1/8-inch wide and very widely spaced traction lines does not preclude a finding that it is the textile material of the outer sole that has the greatest surface area in contact with the ground.

The applicable subheading for the child’s slipper described above will be 6405.20.9015, 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; in which the upper, by weight, predominately consists of fibers other than vegetable fibers or wool (linings, accessories and reinforcements not included); and which has a line of demarcation between the sole and the upper. The rate of duty will be 12.5% ad valorem.

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 Richard Foley at 212-637-7089.


Robert B. Swierupski

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