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NY F83740

March 15, 2000

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TA:347 F83740


TARIFF NO. 6402.99.18

Mr. Roger J. Crain
Customs Science Services, Inc.
11901 Reynolds Avenue
Potomac, MD 20854-3334

RE: The tariff classification of footwear made in China.

Dear Mr. Crain:

In your letter dated March 2, 2000 you requested a classification ruling on behalf of The Topline Corp. for a woman’s shoe identified as Pattern No. W23487B.

You describe the shoe as a woman’s fashion sandal with plastic sequins and textile decorative stitching (embroidery) on the upper. As you state, the shoe has an outer sole of rubber or plastics, and an open toe & heel. You describe the upper as consisting predominantly of plastic-coated textile material. This office believes that the upper is composed of a plastics material which has been “calendered” to simulate the appearance of textile fabric. However, this distinction will not affect the classification of the shoe. In addition to textile embroidery and plastic sequins, the upper also features a metal buckle and substantial “functional” stitching. As you explain, the “strappy” nature of this shoe provides a relatively small upper wherein the “functional” stitching accounts for a large share of the surface.

You have submitted a lab report indicating the component materials percentage measurements for this shoe to be 94% rubber/plastics. This measurement does not include the textile thread that you describe as “functional stitching”. You state that the excluded textile thread accounts for about 8% of the external surface area of the upper (ESAU). If the textile thread is included in the surface measurement, either as external surface area or added back as “accessory or reinforcement”, the shoe will have an ESAU (including accessories or reinforcements) of less than 90% rubber/plastics.

The issue to be addressed is whether to count the textile stitching as ESAU, accessory or reinforcement or, as you suggest, disregard it entirely.

Note 4(a), Chapter 64, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), provides that for purposes of this chapter, the material of the upper shall be taken to be the constituent material having the greatest external surface area, no account being taken of accessories or reinforcements such as ankle patches, edging, ornamentation, buckles, tabs, eyelet stays or similar attachments. In this regard, for Pattern No. W23487B, the metal buckle, plastic sequins and textile embroidery are disregarded for the determination of the ESAU, the constituent material of the upper having the greatest external surface area is plastic. Since the outer sole and upper for this shoe is rubber or plastics, the shoe is classified in HTS Heading 6402 which provides for other footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics. Among other considerations, classification beyond the four digit level in HTS Heading 6402 is contingent upon whether the ESAU (including accessories or reinforcements) is over 90 percent rubber/plastics. Materials which were excluded from ESAU consideration (resulting in classification in Heading 6402) must be added back to arrive at this determination, therefore, the metal buckle, textile embroidery and plastic sequins on Pattern No. W23487B will be added back. However, we agree with your assertion that “functional” stitching should be ignored altogether. It is our opinion that generally, “functional” stitching is not considered in ESAU determinations, it is neither ESAU, nor is it added back as accessory or reinforcement.

The applicable subheading for Pattern No. W23487B, will be 6402.99.18, (HTS) which provides for footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics, other than sports, not covering the ankle, having uppers of which over 90 percent of the external surface area (including accessories and reinforcements) is rubber or plastics. The rate of duty will be 6 percent ad valorem.

The submitted sample is not marked with the country of origin. Therefore, if imported as is, will not meet the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Accordingly, the footwear would be considered not legally marked under the provisions of 19 C.F.R. 134.11 which states, "every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or container) will permit, in such manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article."

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) 637-7089.


Robert Swierupski

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