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NY E88143

November 10, 1999

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TP:347 E88143


TARIFF NO.: 6406.10.50, 6406.10.60

Ms. Karen MacGillivray
Tower Group International
128 Dearborn Street
Buffalo, NY 14207

RE: The tariff classification of footwear uppers from China.

Dear MacGillivray:

In your letter dated October 11, 1999, written on behalf of your client, Solar Link International, Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You have submitted three samples of what you state are “unformed shoe uppers with a “stroble” sock (bottom or underfoot) sewn or partially sewn and/or slit attached to it.” None of the submitted samples contain outer soles. The samples are labeled #1, 2 and 3. You state the uppers are composed of 70% rubber/plastic material and 30% nylon. The underfoot portions attached to the uppers are composed of 100% polyester. You also state that the manufacturing processes performed in China are as follows: Sample #1 has the upper and underfoot portion sewn together with a slit running down the middle of the underfoot, sample #2 has an underfoot partially sewn to the upper and #3 has the upper and underfoot sewn together and two quarter sized holes cut out at the end of the underfoot.

In the U.S., the manufacturing process is as follows: Sample #1 – sew the open part of the underfoot together. Sample #2 – sew the open part of the underfoot together. Sample #3 – patch the two quarter-sized holes in the underfoot with a small piece of sock.

In determining whether an upper is formed, one of the factors we look to is whether the bottom of the upper is closed. In sample #1, which has a slit running down the middle of the underfoot, and in sample #2, as the underfoot is not sewn all the way around the upper, both uppers are considered partially assembled and GRI 2(a) is applicable. GRI 2(a) provides the following:

(a) any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article.

GRI 2(a) also applies to articles which are entered unassembled or disassembled. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HCDCS) Explanatory Notes to GRI 2(a) provide the following on page 2:

(VII) For the purposes of the Rule, “articles presented unassembled or disassembled” means articles the components of which are to be assembled either by means of simple fixing devices (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) or by riveting or welding, for example, provided only simple assembly operations are involved.

Upon importation, the process of sewing together the slit that runs down the middle of the underfoot for sample #1 and the process of sewing of the back sections of the underfoot to the upper for sample #2 are considered “simple assembly” operations and we would therefore consider both samples to be “constructively assembled” for GRI 2(a) purposes. Therefore, these two samples have closed bottoms and the first factor of the test in U.S. Note 4(a) to Chapter 64 is satisfied.

In addition, for an upper to be a formed upper, it must not only have a closed bottom, but must also have been shaped by lasting, molding or otherwise, but not by simply closing at the bottom. Samples #1 and #2 feature stiffeners in the front and back portions, which give the uppers their shape. Thus, samples #1 and #2 meet the definition of a “formed upper” as set forth in U.S. Note 4(a) to Chapter 64, HTSUS.

The applicable subheading for sample #1 and sample #2 will be 6406.10.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for parts of footwear (including uppers whether or not attached to soles other than outer soles), uppers and parts thereof, other than stiffeners, formed uppers. The rate of duty will be 26.2% ad valorem.

Sample #3 also features stiffeners in the front and back portions that gives the upper its shape. Although there is an underfoot attached to the upper, HRL 082573 dated December 28, 1989 stated that “uppers which have substantial openings cut out of the bottoms, as is the case here, are not closed within the meaning of Additional Note 4 to chapter 64, Supra.” In this regard, this upper is not a “formed upper” for tariff purposes.

The applicable subheading for sample #3 will be 6406.10.60, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for parts of footwear, which are parts of footwear uppers which are less than formed uppers, which are of rubber or plastic material. The rate of duty will be free.

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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