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HQ 561499





November 26, 2001

CLA-02 RR:CR:SM 561499 BLS

CATEGORY: MARKING

Port Director

U.S. Customs Service
P.O. Box 55580
Portland, Oregon 97238

RE: Country of origin marking of sandals imported from England

Dear Sir:

This is in reference to letters dated August 27, 1999, and July 13, 2001, from counsel, on behalf of R. Griggs Group, Ltd. (“Griggs”), requesting a ruling concerning the country of origin marking requirements of certain sandals imported from England. Samples of the completed sandals and sandal components have been submitted.

FACTS:

The sandals, identified as “Dr. Martens Airware sandals” (“Doc Martens”), are produced in Thailand and England. The initial process begins in England, where the design for the sandals is developed and tested to ensure that the footwear is properly balanced, the design is fully functional, and will ensure foot comfort. A full set of working patterns for the shoe is then produced, so that sample footwear can be made. The sample footwear is produced in England, tested, and specifications are amended as necessary. Once the footwear is ready for full production, final specifications are communicated to the other production facilities.

Thailand

The upper production begins with leather from the U.S. and England shipped by the supplier to Thailand, where it is cut into leather pieces and straps. Very thin pieces of suede leather from England are also cut for the lining of the sandal. The leather and/or the lining is skived (a process which evens out the thickness of the leather) where necessary. Components for the sandal upper are then stitched, and various attachments and fasteners are added. The suede lining is attached to the inside of the upper components with adhesive and trimmed, and the components of the upper are assembled and stitched together. As part of this process, a strip of leather is attached as the bottom perimeter of the upper. This strip hangs straight down the outside of the upper, and will extend over and beyond the footbed, once the footbed has been added.

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The footbed is a piece of polyurethane next to the foot in the shoe. It is designed to provide the first layer of comfort to the foot. Counsel states that it does not function as a sole and is not intended to have any use as a wearing surface, as it would abrade very quickly if it were subjected to any friction or wear. In this regard, counsel notes that under the ball of the foot, for example, the footbed is only about 3/16” thick.

The footbed is supplied to the Thai contractor by a subcontractor. It is molded in a mold that has a thin piece of fabric material called the rib placed around the inside perimeter of the mold bottom. Polyurethane materials from England are poured into the mold, with this rib in place. The liquids react and harden in a few minutes. A paper-thin strip of suede lining material is then glued to the top of the footbed.

The leather upper is then given its first attachment to the footbed by gluing the inside edges of the leather strip hanging down the sides of the upper to the parallel outside edges of the footbed, using a cement adhesive. A form is inserted into the upper, because this will allow the upper to be clamped into a sidewall press. The leather strip is pressed against the footbed using the sidewall pressing process to allow the adhesive cement to bond under pressure. No part of the upper is attached to the bottom of the footbed, so no part of the upper is bent inward to a horizontal position in the bottom closing process.

The uppers are then placed heel to toe on top of each other and packed, compressed, for shipping to Griggs’ facilities in England. The Thai production process is said to involve both skilled labor operations (e.g., cutting leather, skiving, stitching), as well as unskilled operations (e.g., production of the footbed, gluing of the upper to the footbed).

England

1. Manufacture of Welt Compound and Welt

The welt compound is manufactured by measuring the proprietary mix of ingredients in the formula and blending them together in a high-speed internal mixer at carefully calibrated temperatures. The material is then heated to form a molten “spaghetti.” The “spaghetti” is cut into pellets and cooled for use in the actual welt manufacture.

The welt itself is manufactured on a profile extrusion machine designed to produce the exact size, shape and thickness of welt needed. The extruded welt is then used in a Goodyear welting process, with the added step patented by the original

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German inventor of these shoes. Counsel states that the welt is critical to the proper design and construction of all Doc Martens’ shoes. It connects the upper unit to the sole unit, while simultaneously trapping an air cushion between the two parts of the shoe, and also gives the shoe its distinctive durability, as well as creating a joint that is not weakened by immersion in water.

Manufacture of Sole Compound and Outer Sole

The process of producing the outer sole begins with production of sole compound, using a sophisticated process analogous to that used for producing welt compound, and employing a secret formula of ingredients.

Once produced, the sole compound, which is made up of thermoplastic granules, is moved to a hopper on the plastic molding machines. These machines contain specially designed molds for each particular size and style of Doc Martens bottom being produced at that time. The mold designs, made in England by Griggs, include a specially shaped well on the inside of the sole to accommodate the cushioning component which must be added to produce the proper Doc Martens bottom, as well as U.K. registered designs on the bottom wearing surface of the outer sole.

The granules are fed into machines and carefully heated as they move toward the front end of a machine barrel. When they plasticise, they are injected from the machine nozzle under pressure into the mold cavity. The mold is locked and cooled, until the sole reaches the consistency required for the Doc Martens air cushion outer sole. At this point, the outer sole component is demolded and made ready for the next manufacturing step.

Manufacture of Felt Bottom Pads and Foam Inserts

The shaped felt bottom pads and the shaped foam inserts are cut for the well of the outsole from large sheets of material. Both the felt and the foam sheets are sourced in England. Computer-controlled cutting pressers are used to cut the felt and the foam into their respective patterns, which are shaped precisely to the shoe into which they must fit.

Force Lasting and Heat Setting

Initiation of force lasting of the uppers, followed by heat setting on most sandal models, are the next key manufacturing steps. (Lasting is the process of shaping or forming the upper to fit the foot; heat setting assists and improves shape retention.)

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The force lasting is done by hand. It requires the operator to select the specific last used for the sandal model – all of these lasts are made in England – and force the forepart of the last into the upper sandal. The last is shortened, and the back part of the upper is positioned over the seat of the last. Most of the lasts are then locked and lengthened, tightening the upper onto the last, and conforming the leather to the shape of the last. (A few lasts are merely forced, without lengthening.) The force lasting process continues through the subsequent manufacturing steps, until the shoe is fully produced. Counsel states that this process is the only means to ensure that the upper is well formed to the foot, and is not distorted by the subsequent manufacturing steps needed to construct the whole shoe.

Heat setting follows the initiation of the force lasting described below. After the last has been forced into the upper, the heat setting machine provides a successive application of moisture and heat which relaxes the leather, and subsequently helps both to conform the uppers very tightly to the shape of the last, and to retain that shape. The upper is allowed to cool following the heat setting, and then proceeds to the next manufacturing step.

Staple Lasting, Trimming and Welt Sewing

Staple lasting, trimming and welt sewing are key steps in the final closing of the upper and the intricate construction of the actual sandal. The specially designed PVC welt is prepared for sewing using the Goodyear welting process. A skilled operator uses a technique called staple lasting, which carefully staples through the piece of leather on the side of the upper, and into the rib of the footbed. This bends the upper leather toward the horizontal for the first time, and further secures the upper to the footbed.

Once the staple lasting is complete, another skilled operator does a preliminary trimming operation on the bottom strip of the upper, using an upper trimmer. This is necessary to allow the welt sewing. A third skilled operator uses a welt sewing machine to sew the welt to both the overhanging piece of the leather on the upper and to the rib on the footbed, using welt thread made in England.

The operator then cuts the welt and carefully stitches over the welt joint. This process provides the final securing of the upper to the footbed, and provides the high quality, sturdy connection between the welt and the upper needed for this shoe.

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Cutting Upper Leather and Welt

Once this process is complete, another skilled operator takes the upper and uses an inseam trimmer to cut the upper leather and the welt very carefully, so that they are level with the top of the rib. This step is critical, because if it is not done properly, the sole unit will not fit correctly to the welt, and the shoe will not be securely constructed.

7. Shoe Component Assembly and Welding of Welt

At this point, the first component of the cushioning feature in the sandal bottom is introduced. Hot molten adhesive is run down the middle of the bottom side of the footbed, and a specially sized felt pad that has been cut for the shoe is glued on and allowed to cool. Next, a second bottom-cushioning element is introduced. The specially cut foam pad is placed into the “well,” i.e., the specially shaped inside cavity, of the sole unit.

The partially cushioned sole unit is now placed into a position where it can be temporarily secured to the welt. In this skilled operation, an operator attaches the welt to the sole in precisely the correct location at four points on the sandal, spot welding the welt and sole unit together. Care is needed in this operation to ensure that the upper and bottom are fully and correctly aligned. An error here will distort the shape of the shoe.

The next skilled operation makes a permanent, full connection between the sole unit and the welt. This processing operation, which was patented by the original manufacturers, also has the effect of trapping a cushion of air in the sole that provides further cushioning. A sophisticated and unique piece of machinery called a heat sealing machine that Griggs manufactures itself, holds the welt and sole components together, and the skilled operator uses a heated blade to seal the welting and sole together around the entire shoe in a manner that traps the air cushion between the sole unit and the upper unit.

8. Production of Sole Edge

The next operation, which also requires use of a skilled machine operator, creates the distinctive grooved sole edge pattern across the outside of the welting and the sole, and finishes the sole edge. This grooved sole edge, together with the yellow stitching, is at the heart of Doc Martens’ trade dress.

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8. Testing

The last is now opened and the shoe is released. The welt seal is tested to ensure it is proper. If it is not, the shoe is returned to the manufacturing line for correction. If the welt is secure, the shoe moves to the next stage.

Toning, Cleaning and Other Operations

The leather is toned and cleaned by hand to correct creases and ensure a uniform surface. Then, the sandal is packed with paper or cardboard to assist in shape retention, a label is attached, and the shoe is inspected by quality control personnel. Footwear passing inspection is boxed and packed for shipping.

ISSUE:

What are the country of origin marking requirements for the sandals imported from England?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. §1304), provides that, unless excepted, 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 its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. §1304.

Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR §134.1(b)), defines country of origin as:

The country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the country of origin within the meaning of this part; however for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin.

A substantial transformation occurs "when an article emerges from a manufacturing process with a new name, character, or use which differs from that of

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the original material subjected to the process. The Torrington Company v. United States, 764 F.2d 1563 (Fed. Cir. 1985).

Accordingly, in order to ascertain the country of origin marking requirements for the imported sandals, we must determine whether the sandal uppers imported into England from Thailand undergo a substantial transformation as a result of the operations performed in England.

In Uniroyal Inc. v. United States, 3 C.I.T. 220, 542 F. Supp. 1026 (1982), aff'd, 702 F.2d 1022 (Fed Cir. 1983), the merchandise before the Court of International Trade consisted of lasted "footwear uppers consisting of complete shoes except for an outsole...," manufactured in Indonesia and imported into the U.S. where a pre-shaped rubber outsole was affixed and the complete shoe (moccasins) was sold to retailers. The issue before the court was whether the addition of the outsoles substantially transformed the uppers so that the uppers did not have to be individually marked as a product of Indonesia.

After carefully examining both the imported upper and the finished shoe, the court concluded that the imported upper did not lose its distinct identity in the finished moccasin and was the very essence of the completed shoe. This was so even though the imported upper could not be sold to or worn by consumers without the heavy rubber outsole being attached and even though following attachment of the rubber outsole the shoe was called by a different name, a deck shoe, rather than an upper or a moccasin. In reaching its decision, the court compared the time, cost of materials and labor involved in producing the upper abroad versus the process of attaching the outsole in the U.S., including the number of highly skilled operations performed in the U.S. and abroad. The court concluded that “the manufacturing operation performed by [the U.S. processor] is a minor assembly operation which requires only a small fraction of the time and cost involved in producing the uppers.” Consequently, the court found that a substantial transformation of the upper had not occurred since the attachment of the outsole to the upper was a minor manufacturing or combining process which left the identity of the upper intact.

Counsel believes that Uniroyal lends support to Griggs’ position that the sandal uppers undergo a substantial transformation in England, in view of the significant cost of material and labor which accrue in that country versus such costs in Thailand, plus the complexity and sophistication of the operations which take place in England in comparison to the operations in Thailand.

It appears that in Uniroyal, the court was concerned that processing in the U.S. which resulted in an article with a different name, character and use than the 8
imported article should not be regarded as a substantial transformation if the cost, material or added value associated with the domestic processing is negligible or insignificant compared to the cost, material or value added abroad. However, Uniroyal did not preclude the use of other tests used by the courts to determine the issue of substantial transformation. Thus, in National Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, 16 CIT 308, 312 (1992), aff’d, 989 F.2d 1201 (Fed. Cir. 1993), the court stated that the determination of a substantial transformation must be based on the totality of the evidence, and applied a 3-pronged test utilizing name, character, and use, in determining whether a substantial transformation had occurred. In that case, the court discounted plaintiff's argument that a substantial transformation should be found based on the value of the processing performed in the U.S., which plaintiff described as significant, but decided the issue based solely on name, character and use.

Counsel argues that the sandal uppers as imported into England are “unformed,” as at this point they are not lasted or molded, or, counsel states, otherwise given shape in Thailand to the form of a human foot. Counsel contends that the principles set forth in Customs rulings on footwear as well as the NAFTA country of origin marking rules further support a finding that the “unformed” uppers undergo a substantial transformation as a result of the processing in England.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 721106 dated August 23, 1983, Customs held that moccasin uppers that were fully sewn and closed abroad, were not considered to have undergone a substantial transformation in the U.S. as a result of force lasting and “bottoming” (attachment of the sole). In that case, the imported uppers were described as “fully constructed, sewn and closed prior to the force lasting.” We noted that the “force lasting” which occurred in the U.S. after the upper was fully constructed could not be compared to lasting which occurs during construction of the upper as that type of lasting provided a measure of substantiality or completion of the articles upon importation. In HRL 953017 dated January 29, 1993, Customs held that the attachment of an outer sole in the U.S. did not result in a substantial transformation as the boot upper which was “fully closed and sewn” had attained its final shape upon importation although it had not been shaped by “lasting, molding or otherwise.” See also HRL 732692 dated January 16, 1990 (formed uppers used in the production of moccasins were not substantially transformed as a result of the additional processing performed in the U.S. Although not back-lasted, upon importation the uppers had much of their ultimate shape, form and size and thus the basic appearance of shoes); and HRL 732490 dated September 22, 1989 (two sample leather moccasin uppers - one with an open midsole the other with a closed midsole - were not substantially transformed although the U.S. processing included lasting and sole laying.)

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However, in HRL 555431 dated April 9, 1990, Customs held that the joining of unlasted, unformed slipper uppers to outersoles in an insular possession constituted a substantial transformation. In that case, we stated that the “parts” of footwear imported into the insular possession underwent a complex assembly process (lasting, stitching, inverting the inner sole and stitching the toe closed) in order to transform the parts into completed slippers. See also HRL 735338 dated January 28, 1994 (completely open and unlasted uppers of athletic footwear imported into Italy did not have the very essence of a completed shoe, and were substantially transformed as a result of the processing performed in Italy.)

NAFTA Marking Rules – Formed Uppers

Counsel states that the NAFTA Marking Rules support its position that the uppers are unformed upon importation into England since if imported from a NAFTA country (Canada or Mexico), the subject uppers would undergo a tariff shift as a result of the additional processing in the exporting country, and the country of origin would be the country where the uppers were finished.

It is our opinion that the imported sandals are properly classifiable in heading 6403, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The applicable change in tariff classification set out in section 102.20(k), Section XII, Chapters 64 through 67, 6401-6405 of the regulations provides:

6401-6405 .... A change to heading 6401 through 6405 from any other heading outside that group, except from formed uppers. [Emphasis added.]

Additional U.S. Note 4 to chapter 64, HTSUS, provides as follows:

Provisions of subheading 6406.10 for "formed uppers" cover uppers, with closed bottoms, which have been shaped by lasting, molding or otherwise but not by simply closing at the bottom. [Emphasis added.]

We have consulted with the Chief, Textile Branch, as to whether the footwear components imported into England are “formed” uppers. The following reflects the response of that office:

The goods imported into England consist of uppers with closed bottoms. Although the upper at issue has not been shaped by lasting, examination of the sample indicates that it has been shaped by other significant means which appear to satisfy what the legal note requires of articles that are classified in subheading 6406.10, HTSUS. The subject upper has been shaped by the

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substantial and intricate sewing together of numerous pieces and straps of precision-cut (in Thailand), high quality leather into a shape which conforms to the contours of the heel, sides, and top portions of a human foot. This assembled upper (with Dr. Martens® buckle, hole-punched strap, and embossed AirWair® logo) is then bonded with adhesive around the entire perimeter of a sturdy footbed (also referred to as an "underfoot"). The footbed is composed of molded polyurethane plastic and features an exterior rib that is typical of an insole for welted footwear. The molded plastic footbed is shaped like the sole of a human foot. The downward projecting rib runs just inside and parallel to the footbed's perimeter. The rib is designed to be secured together (eventually) with a PVC welt and the leather upper by a strong chainstitch (a key feature of high quality, machine welted construction).

The imported article also has a thin piece of suede leather attached with adhesive to, and completely covering, the top of the footbed where the foot will rest. Pieces of suede are also glued and stitched to the interior of the upper. All the suede pieces are cut in Thailand. Together they form the lining of what will become the sandal. The exterior (bottom) of the plastic footbed is marked with an "8" to indicate a U.K. size 8 (which equates to a U.S. size 9). Counsel refers to this hard molded plastic as merely a "foam footbed.... not intended to have any use as a wearing surface....[which] would abrade and pit very quickly if it were subjected to any friction or wear." The material is not composed of foam plastic, however, and its suitability for use in walking is irrelevant. The material is extremely durable, as evidenced by the fact that it will anchor the innermost stitching of the sandal's machine welted construction. Further, the plastic surface can barely be scratched by rubbing it with a sharp metal object. Although the leather of the imported "formed upper" is not rigid or in the shape of a last, it clearly possesses the shape of a size 8 (U.K.) human foot. The National [Commodity] Import Specialist notes that the leather upper materials of the sample he examined retained their shape even after removal of the plastic footbed (a step not taken in any of the actual manufacturing processes).

The manufacturing processes performed in England which affect the upper essentially consist of "force lasting," stapling the upper to the rib, "heat setting," trimming of upper material extending below the footbed, stitching the upper to the rib and welt, and cutting the upper and welt to the level of the rib. Griggs contends that it is the bending of the upper "inward to the horizontal" through "force lasting" and "heat setting" which causes the upper to be "formed." In this case, the bend to the horizontal is barely perceptible due to the fact that the construction of welted footwear requires attachment of the upper material to the vertically oriented rib. The written submission and presentation, however,

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make much of the "intentional" shaping and molding effects of force lasting and heat setting. Force lasting essentially involves a "hand operation" to force the last into the upper. Heat setting involves the application of moisture and heat to relax the leather and conform it to the shape of the last. These lasting processes are intended to help the sandal retain the shape of the last for as long as possible. It appears, however, that exposure to elements such as sun and water, through normal use of the finished sandal beside the pool, walking in the rain, river rafting, etc., would soon cause the stiffened shape of the force lasted, heat set upper to resemble the "broken in" look of the "formed uppers" imported into England. For the convenience of transport, the uppers are imported into England packed heel to toe in a compressed state. Although they have not yet assumed the shape of the last, the uppers have already been formed in the shape of a foot of certain size and shape.

Griggs relies upon certain guidance contained in Treasury Decision (T.D.)

93-88, particularly a part in which the term "formed uppers" is defined in the negative. The selected guidance states:

"Formed uppers" does not include:

2. Any upper which is completely unlasted, i.e., no part of it has been bent (lasted) inward to the horizontal.

This cited excerpt, however, is applicable to uppers that are intended to attain their shape only by lasting, not by molding or by the other means provided for in Additional U.S. Note 4 to chapter 64, HTSUS. Further, in the first paragraph of T.D. 93-88 it is stated that "[t]hese definitions are provided merely as guidelines. They are not to be construed as Customs rulings." Counsel makes no reference to other guidance contained in T.D. 93-88, particularly where it is stated that the term:

"Formed uppers" includes:

1. In general, all items which have a layer of material between most of the foot and the ground, and which, after lacing or buckling, if needed, will stay on the foot if worn in the condition as imported and which are shaped to fit the human foot.

As previously noted, the subject articles have a complete layer between the foot and the ground, and would, after buckling, stay on most feet, which measure size 8 (U.K.) because they are shaped to fit the human foot. 12

In light of the above, it is our conclusion that the articles imported into England from Thailand constitute "formed uppers." As such, they are classifiable in subheading 6406.10.05, 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: Of leather or composition leather: For men, youths and boys.”

The opinion of the Textile Branch that the uppers are “formed” and classifiable in subheading 6406.10.05, HTSUS, represents the position of the Customs Service. In accordance with this opinion, we find that despite the uppers not being back-lasted, they have much of the ultimate shape, form and size of the completed sandals. As in Uniroyal, and in HRL 732692, above, we consider the formed uppers imported from Thailand to be substantially complete footwear, which constitutes the very essence of the completed product. Accordingly, we find that these uppers do not undergo a substantial transformation as a result of the additional processing performed in England. Therefore, the origin of the imported sandals for country of origin marking purposes is Thailand and they should be so marked.

Alternative Upper Construction

As an alternative to the upper construction described above, Griggs requests that Customs provide guidance with respect to a manufacturing process as follows:

The footbed would be molded to contain a hole of one to two inches. The shape of the hole likely would mimic the shape of a filled in “U.” After importation into England, the hole would be filled using a plug constructed outside of England, and imported separately from the upper. The sandal upper would also be lasted in England, as is currently the case, and it would be turned into a welted sandal using the same basic manufacturing steps that were outlined in Griggs’ August 27, 1999 ruling request.

As noted, the sample sandal uppers, which are the subject of this ruling request, are fully closed at the bottom through staple lasting and welt sewing.

Griggs asks whether as a result of such alternative upper construction, Customs would consider the sandal uppers imported from Thailand to be “unformed” uppers for purposes of classification. Further, Griggs asks whether under this alternative construction, Customs would find that the uppers undergo a substantial transformation in England.

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In HRL 087458 dated September 19, 1990, the sample consisted of a two eyelet moccasin-type leather upper designed for a man's right foot with an elliptical hole in the bottom approximately 2 1/2 inches long and approximately 7/8 inch wide at one end of the hole and approximately 5/8 inch wide at the opposite end of the hole. We found in that case that since the sample upper had a substantial opening in its bottom, which could only be closed with additional material, it could not be considered a “formed upper” for tariff purposes, as Additional U.S. Note 4 provides for formed uppers with closed bottoms. Therefore, we held that the operations in the U.S., which included closure of the bottoms with additional material, constituted a substantial transformation of the imported unformed uppers. See also HRL 085573 dated December 28, 1989 and HRL 085291 dated March 1, 1990.

In accordance with the principles set forth in HRL 087458 and the other cases cited, Customs would consider the sandal uppers imported into England under the alternative manufacturing operation which Griggs has proposed to be “unformed” uppers for tariff purposes. The sandal uppers would be closed with additional material in an additional manufacturing process performed in England. Under this alternative construction, the closure of the bottoms with additional material in England followed by the additional processing as described above will result in a formed upper and will satisfy the substantial transformation test. Accordingly, under this alternative construction the country of origin of the completed sandals will be England and the sandals should be so marked upon importation.

HOLDING:

Based on the information and samples provided:

Scenario No. 1

Sandal uppers which are fully closed at the bottom imported from Thailand into England are considered “formed” uppers as they have much of the ultimate shape, form and size of the completed sandals. As in Uniroyal and in HRL 732692, above, we consider the formed uppers imported from Thailand to be substantially complete footwear, which constitutes the very essence of the completed product. Accordingly, we find that these uppers do not undergo a substantial transformation as a result of the additional processing performed in England and the country of origin of the completed sandals will be Thailand.

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Scenario No. 2

Sandal uppers imported from Thailand into England with a footbed molded to contain a hole of one to two inches are not considered “formed uppers” for tariff purposes. The operations in England, which include closure of the bottoms and additional processing leading to the completed sandals, constitutes a substantial transformation of the imported unformed uppers. See HRL 087458, above. Accordingly, under this scenario, the country of origin of the completed sandals will be England.

It should be noted, however, that Customs is reviewing HRL 087458 and other similar cases with regard to what constitutes a formed upper for purposes of Additional U.S. Note 4. Any proposed change in these decisions would require notice and comment in the Customs Bulletin pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)).

Please advise Claire E. Reade, Esq., of Arnold & Porter (555 Twelfth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20229) of this decision within 60 days and include a copy with your notice.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director

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