United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
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NY I83880

July 22, 2002



TARIFF NO.: 6404.11.90

Mr. Eric M. Hale
Nike USA, Inc.
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005

RE: The tariff classification of footwear from Korea

Dear Mr. Hale:

In your letter dated June 27, 2002, you requested a tariff classification ruling for a sample of footwear identified as Nike style RMT825-M1-C4, Air Trail Wrap, men’s trail running shoe.

You describe the merchandise which is the subject of this ruling request as a men’s size 9 running shoe specifically designed for outdoor trail running. You state that the external surface area of the upper is predominantly textile and the external surface area of the outer sole is rubber/plastics. You further state that the shoe incorporates features that differ from a normal running shoe, including a thermoplastic rubber cage that extensively wraps around the entire upper and an aggressive outsole for traction on rocky, mountainous trails. You acknowledge that the shoe is lighter than traditional “hikers”, but is heavier than high performance running shoes. You believe that the weight, general appearance and protective features differ enough for this shoe to be excluded from subheading 6404.11 (which provides for sports footwear; tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like) and so placed in subheading 6404.19.

The shoe is an athletic shoe with an upper of textile material and an outer sole of rubber/plastics. The shoe does not cover the ankle and has a foxing-like band encircling the entire shoe. The textile upper features a web-like molded plastic cage that extends from the outer sole and provides, as you state, heel stability and protection, medial and lateral support, general protection from rocks and other trail debris and toe area support. The shoe is held to the foot with a lace, closure system. You provide an FOB value of over $12/pair.

Chapter 64, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, (HTS), Additional U.S. Note 2, states:

For the purposes of this chapter, the term “tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like” covers athletic footwear other than sports footwear (as defined in subheading note 1 above), whether or not principally used for such athletic games or purposes.

In general, this office interprets this note to mean that “athletic” covers not only tennis, basketball, training and gym shoes, but also shoes that are like those named exemplars. We further interpret “like” to mean that which has the same, or nearly the same appearance, qualities or characteristics as the named exemplars. In addition, it is further Customs position that in order for footwear to be classified as athletic footwear in 6404.11 (HTS), it must be constructed for an activity that requires fast footwork or extensive running. In this regard, we disagree with your contention that this shoe is excluded from classification in subheading 6404.11 (HTS) in so far as the shoe looks, functions and has the characteristics of athletic footwear and is designed for running.

The applicable subheading for Nike style RMT825-M1-C4, Air Trail Wrap will be 6404.11.90 (HTS), which provides for footwear with outer soles of rubber/plastics and uppers of textile, sports footwear; tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like, other, valued over $12/pair. The general rate of duty will be 20 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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