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NY K80452

November 20, 2003


TARIFF NO.: 6402.19.15

Mr. John J. Kenney
Reebok International Ltd.
1895 J.W. Foster Boulevard
Canton, MA 02021

RE: The tariff classification of footwear from China.

Dear Mr. Kenney:

In your letter dated October 29, 2003, you requested a tariff classification ruling for a baseball shoe called the “YO WORKHORSE MPB” style number 102822.

The sample is a youth’s, mid height, lace-up baseball shoe. The upper is rubber/plastic as is the outsole. The outsole does not substantially overlap the upper by one-quarter inch or more. Therefore, the shoe does not have a foxing or foxing-like band. The outsole exhibits molded projections on the outer surface. These projections consist of a series of cleat-like studs that protrude 5/16” from the surrounding sole material.

Chapter 64 (HTS) Subheading Note 1 provides:

For the purposes of subheadings 6402.12, 6402.19, 6403.12, 6403.19 and 6404.11, the expression “sports footwear” applies only to:

(a) Footwear which is designed for a sporting activity and has, or has the provision for the attachment of spikes, sprigs, cleats, stops, clips, bars or the like;

(b) Skating boots, ski-boots and cross-country ski footwear, snowboard boots, wrestling boots, boxing boots and cycling shoes.

It is the position of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that subheading note 1 should be interpreted narrowly. We note that the phrase which states that ”sports footwear” applies only to...” conveys an intent to reasonably limit footwear classified as “sports footwear.”

CBP’s interpretation of the terms spikes, sprigs, cleats, stops, bars or the like in regards to “sports footwear” has generally been to include projections attached to, or molded into, the soles of “sports footwear” to provide traction during outdoor sporting activities such as golf, field sports, (baseball, soccer, American football, rugby etc.) or track & field events. In addition, crampons and similar attachments for rock/ice-climbing boots have also been included as fitting the definition of these terms. However, outdoor recreational footwear, with traction studs, lugs or similar sole projections, suitable for everyday walking have not been considered “sports footwear” as these projections are unlike spikes, sprigs, cleats, stops, clips, bars or the like. It is further our interpretation that all the exemplars listed in the note have relatively sharp points or edges which are designed to dig into the ground (turf or ice). In order to effectively dig into turf or ice, such projections, generally, must be spaced fairly widely apart. The physical characteristics and necessary placement of the exemplar projections tend to render everyday walking in “sports footwear” impractical.

The sole projections on the subject footwear are more than ¼ inch in length, widely spaced, and present an uneven walking surface. In this regard the subject footwear has spikes, sprigs, cleats, stops bars or the like and is “sports footwear” as defined in the Chapter 64, Subheading note 1 (HTS).

The applicable subheading for the “YO WORKHORSE MPB” will be 6402.19.15 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber/plastics, sports footwear, having uppers of which over 90 percent of the external surface area (including accessories or reinforcements) is rubber or plastics, not having a foxing or foxing-like band, not protective, other. The general rate of duty will be 5.1 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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