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NY H89161

March 25, 2002

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TA:347 H89161


TARIFF NO.: 6403.99.90 ; 9811.00.60

Mr. Scott Harris
Revolution Dancewear
1876 Johns Drive
Glenview, IL 60025

RE: The tariff classification of footwear samples from China

Dear Mr. Harris:

In your letter dated March 13, 2002 you requested a tariff classification ruling for a women’s (or unisex) shoe which is manufactured in China and will be imported into the U.S. You state that the sample you have submitted for our examination consists of a half pair of “ dance shoes” in a cardboard box you call a shipping carton. You indicate in your letter that it is your intention to send this “sample” item to 11, 016 prospective customers in the United States to introduce them to your product. You state that the cost to you of each “sample and box” is $3.75 and you are asking if this sample shoe is eligible to be imported under subheading 9811.00.60, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS).

Subheading 9811.00.60, HTS, provides for the free entry of any sample valued not over $1.00 each, or marked, torn, perforated, or otherwise treated so that it is unsuitable for sale or for use otherwise than as a sample, to be used in the U.S. only for soliciting orders for products of foreign countries. The controlling factor is whether the importer uses the samples for the purpose of soliciting purchase orders for foreign merchandise and the creation of a demand for future orders.

In your letter you have clearly indicated that your footwear samples are valued at more than $1.00 each and so they do not readily qualify by value to be entered free of duty under this tariff provision. Therefore in order to still merit consideration, the shoes themselves must be conspicuously and permanently marked as samples or are to be treated in some way as to render them unsuitable for commercial sale or any use other than as samples for soliciting future orders. We do not agree with your opinion that since you are only providing a half pair sample of a pair of shoes to introduce your product to potential U.S. customers, that alone is enough justification for considering the submitted sample shoe to be, as you believe, “otherwise treated so that it is unsuitable for sale.” The fact that the cardboard box in which the shoe is contained states that this “Stretch Jazz Boot” is “A free sample for your studio from Revolution Dancewear” only indicates that this sample is a free giveaway and does not convey anything more to the reader. We do not doubt your claim that your intent to import this footwear item is for the purpose of promoting future sales. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the sample shoe, which is complete in every way and is marked with a size, a style number, an indication that it has a leather upper, leather sock lining and balance of man-made material, and includes the country of origin marking “Made in China,” has not been in any way perforated, torn or otherwise treated or marked so as to render it unsuitable for sale.

Customs has issued several rulings concerning the methods of marking footwear used as samples. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 557825, dated March 15, 1994, Customs held that marking footwear by embossing the sole of the shoe with the visible legend “Sample Not For Resale” in a contrasting color was sufficient to render the footwear suitable only for soliciting orders. In HRL 555552 dated August 10, 1990, Customs held that non-quota footwear imported for sample use may either have a ¼-inch hole drilled in each sole or a label with the words “Sample Not For Resale” permanently attached to a readily visible place also would qualify for free entry under subheading 9811.00.60, provided the district director was satisfied that such treatment rendered the shoes unsuitable for any other use but that of soliciting orders for foreign merchandise. Additionally, in HRL 557460 dated September 29, 1993 Customs held that stamping the legend “Sample Not For Resale” in indelible ink or gold leaf onto the lining of the shoe or embossing this legend onto the leather or the inside heel area was also sufficient treatment under subheading 9811.00.60, HTS. With regard to the instant footwear, we suggest that you consider using one or more of these acceptable methods to render your submitted sample shoe suitable to be classified in 9811.00.60, HTS.

Based on the information and the samples you have provided, we do not consider the submitted footwear identified as a “dance shoe” to be sufficiently marked or treated to qualify for classification under subheading 9811.00.60, HTS. Therefore if imported as is, this women’s predominately leather upper slip-on type shoe, which has a rubber/plastic outer sole and which does not cover the wearer’s ankle, will be classifiable under subheading 6403.99.90, HTS and will have an applicable rate of duty of 10% ad valorem.

We are returning the sample 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 646-733-3042.


Robert B. Swierupski

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