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NY G80091

August 15, 2000

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TP:347 G80091


TARIFF NO.: 6404.19.90

Mr. Mark S. Cooper
Cooper Brokerage & Forwarding, Inc.
P.O. Box 416
Milton, WV 25541

RE: The tariff classification of textile footwear from China.

Dear Mr. Cooper:

In your letter dated July 18, 2000, written on behalf of your client, DARCO International, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You have submitted a sample of what you state is a pair of orthopedic shoes, named “Gentle Step,” to be principally used in the treatment of foot related problems as determined by a podiatrist. The shoes are made of textile uppers and rubber/plastic outer soles and are valued at $14.00 per pair.

You state the footwear is designed for people with diabetes, deformities and other foot problems in which softer, more flexible materials are needed to reduce the incidence of corns and calluses caused by friction and pressure over hammer toes, bunions, etc. You also state that “Gentle Step” meets the guidelines of the Medicare Therapeutic Shoe Bill.

Among other merchandise, heading 9021, HTS, covers “Orthopedic appliances, including crutchessplints and other fracture appliancesother appliances which are worn or carriedto compensate for a defect or disability; parts and accessories thereof.” The EN to heading 9021 indicates that orthopedic appliances are appliances for: “(i) Preventing or correcting bodily deformities; or (ii) Supporting or holding organs following an illness or operation.” In pertinent part, they include:

(6) Orthopedic footwear, having an enlarged leather stiffener which may be reinforced with a metal or cork frame, made only to measure.

(7) Special insoles, made to measure.

Although footwear such as the “Gentle Step” are designed, intended, and often prescribed for persons suffering foot discomfort from any of a variety of diseases or conditions, the purpose of such footwear is essentially to provide comfort, and not principally used to prevent/correct deformities or support organs. In their imported condition, the footwear is not made-to-measure for a specific person and are mass-produced items presented in pairs, thereby classifiable as footwear of chapter 64, HTS. In this regard, the “Gentle Step” is not an orthopedic appliance for tariff purposes.

The applicable subheading for the “Gentle Step” will be 6404.19.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for footwear in which the upper’s external surface is predominately textile materials, in which the outer sole’s external surface is predominately rubber and/or plastics, which is not athletic footwear, which has neither open toes or open heels, footwear held to the foot with the use of laces or buckles or other fasteners, valued over $12.00 per pair. The rate of duty will be 9% ad valorem.

We also note that the submitted samples are not marked with the country of origin. Therefore, if imported as is, the samples submitted will not meet the country of origin marking requirement of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Accordingly, the shoes 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.”

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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