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NY H89667

April 9, 2002

CLA-2- 64:RR: NC: TA: 347 H89667


TARIFF NO.: 6405.10.00

Mr. Donald L. Perrone
Tower Group International
10 Moulton Street
Portland, ME 04101

RE: The tariff classification of men’s bowling shoes from China.

Dear Mr. Perrone:

In your letter dated March 25, 2002, on behalf of your client, Dexter Shoe Company you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You have submitted samples identified as men’s bowling shoes style # B796, a plastic slip-on shoe cover, a fabric shoe bag and a smaller fabric “sole and heel bag” containing various interchangeable soles and heels. You state that the pair of bowling shoes will be imported with the shoe bag, the single shoe cover and the small fabric bag holding various shoe outer soles and heels, and all these items together constitute a single unit item for retail sale. The shoe bag is made of woven fabric and has a drawstring closure at one end of the bag. The shoe bag measures approximately 12 inches in width and 19½-inches in height and has printed on the outside front center of the bag the importer’s trademark. The smaller sole & heel bag has the same characteristics as the shoe bag except that it measures approximately 9½ -inches in width and 8½-inches in height. The shoe cover consists of an elastic banded plastic booty cover for the single “sliding shoe”, that is approximately 12 inches in length and 2½-inches in width, with the importer’s trademark located on the bottom-side middle of the booty.

GRI 3(b) provides for composite goods made up of different components. Explanatory Note IX to GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods can consist of separable components, provided these components are adapted to one another and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale separately. The shoes and bags are a composite good as that term is defined and applied in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, (HTS). In this case, the components are separable and adapted to be used together. The sample shoe bag has a “Dexter USA” trademark in the center and is slightly larger than a pair of the shoes they are imported with and would not easily accommodate additional items, with room enough at the top to close the drawstring. The sole and heel bag has the same trademark in the center and features a “slide value guide” on the back of the bag.

The bags would not likely be sold as independent products for carrying various other personal effects (as would a back pack, fanny bag, or shoulder bag). Composite goods are classified according to the component which gives them their essential character, therefore, this pair of shoes and accompanying bags constitute composite goods with the essential character imparted by the shoes.

The pair of bowling shoes have an all leather upper composed of stitched together leather pieces, padded leather tongues, five-eyelet lace closures. In accordance with their intent to be used by a right handed bowler; the left shoe of the pair, which is considered the “sliding shoe”, utilizes a hook and loop system for attaching interchangeable leather or textile soles and leather or rubber heels. The right shoe of the pair has a standard rubber outer sole and heel.

The bowling shoes, while forming a pair, have definite separate identities; the left shoe has the possibility of either a leather or textile outer sole. In one scenario, the “sliding left bowling shoe” will have an outer sole and upper of leather. In this case the applicable subheading is 6403.59.60, (HTS). In another scenario, the “sliding left bowling shoe” has an outer sole of textile and an upper of leather. In this case the applicable subheading is 6405.10.00, (HTS). The right bowling shoe has an outer sole of rubber or plastics and an upper of leather. The applicable subheading for the right shoe is 6403.99.60, (HTS). Since classification on this pair of bowling shoes with interchangeable soles has the possibility of three equally specific subheadings, General Rules of Interpretation 3(c) would apply.

General Rule of Interpretation 3 (GRI 3) states:

3(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

3(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

3(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

The shoes are not classifiable in accordance with GRI 3(a) or (b) because the three subheadings are equally specific. Therefore, GRI 3(c) determines the applicable subheading. In this case, out of all the possible subheadings (6403.59.60, 6403.99.60 and 6405.10.00) the one, which occurs last, is 6405.10.00.

The applicable subheading for bowling shoes # B796 will be 6405.10.00, HTSUSA, as other footwear, with uppers of leather or composition leather, other. The applicable rate of duty will be 10 percent ad valorem.

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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