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NY F89110

July 19, 2000

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TA:347 F89110


TARIFF NO.: 6406.10.6500

Mr. Peter T. Middleton
Middleton & Shrull
44 Mall Road, Suite 208
Burlington, MA 01803-4530

RE: The tariff classification of footwear uppers from China

Dear Mr. Middleton:

In your letter dated June 27, 2000, on behalf of your client New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You have submitted four samples of footwear uppers without outer sole, which you have identified as Style #670, three of which are so marked, and Style #700, which we presume is the single unmarked one. All four of the sample uppers have external surfaces of leather. All four samples have a “stroble” sock bottom or underfoot sewn onto their respective uppers and there is a one inch diameter hole that has been cut out of each sock bottom near the front of an otherwise closed underfoot. You state that all the constituent parts of these uppers will be stitched together in China. Additionally, a liquid, thermo print plastic stiffener is applied on the underside of the toe piece and a semi-rigid thermal resin plastic heel counter piece is cemented between the upper surface material and the inner lining at the heel. You also state that all of these assembled uppers are also placed in a conditioner to activate the box toe, placed on a last to fold the vamp plug over the last and is then front part lasted. It is only after importation into the United States that the remaining back part upper lasting operations will be completed and injection molded polyurethane midsoles and outer soles will be simultaneously formed and attached.

In determining whether or not to classify uppers as “formed”, one of the factors we look to is whether the bottom of the upper is closed. Since the “stroble socks” are completely sewn to the bottoms of each sample, we could say that these uppers have closed bottoms. However, each of these uppers does also have a one-inch wide hole cut out of its bottom. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 085573, dated December 28, 1989, stated that “uppers which have substantial openings cut out of the bottoms are not closed within the meaning of Additional U.S. Note 4 to chapter 64, Supra.” Additionally, HRL 954790, dated September 28, 1993, ruled that the term “formed uppers” did not include moccasin uppers with a significant sized hole (the size of a nickel or larger) in their bottom layer, whether or not the upper is fully formed (lasted), unless the piece which will cover that opening was in the same shipment. Since all of the instant sample uppers do have openings of as much as one inch in diameter cut out of their bottoms and provided that the pieces which will cover those openings are not in the same shipment at importation, they will not be considered “formed uppers” for tariff purposes.

The applicable subheading for the four shoe uppers identified by you as Styles 670 and 700, will be 6406.10.6500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for footwear uppers and parts thereof, which are not “formed uppers” and in which the upper’s external surface is predominately leather. The rate of duty will be Free.

We are returning the samples as you requested.

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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