United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2003 NY Rulings > NY K81255 - NY K81335 > NY K81287

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
NY K81287

November 21, 2003
CLA-2-64:RR:NC:247: K81287


TARIFF NO.: 6404.19.35

Mr. Roger Crain
Customs Science Services, Inc.
11901 Reynolds Avenue
Potomac, MD 20854-1106

RE: The tariff classification of reversible footwear

Dear Mr. Crain:

In your letter dated November 19, 2003, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of S. Goldberg. The sample the Turnz 180 (Style No. EVL0345AGN) is a thong sandal with an outer sole of rubber or plastics. You indicate that the “Y” shaped upper is reversible. You state that there is a small plastic pivot at the top of the toe thong. If the hook & loop straps securing the two arms of the “Y” are loosened, the upper can be turned 180 degrees through the plastic pivot and re-fastened. In this way, the material that was against the foot is now on the external surface of the upper. The material of one upper surface is plastic and the material of the other is textile. You further state that when the shoes are exported to the United States the plastic side will be on the outside and the textile side on the inside. You opine that in their condition as imported, the sandal will have uppers of plastic.

You opine further that you do not believe that General Rule of Interpretation 3 (c) applies in this case because the upper of the Turnz 180 is either plastic or textile but never both. In your opinion, the only way GRI 3(c) would apply is if the external surface of the upper were exactly 50 percent of one material and 50 percent of another.

HQ 958745 dated March 5, 1996 involved a similar situation and provides guidance for reversible items. In that case the sample submitted was a reversible pullover garment. One side of the garment being woven cotton flannel material and the other side of knit cotton material. The subject ruling explains:

Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’s). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

As the subject garment is comprised of knit material and woven material, it is a composite good for tariff classification purposes. GRI 3 applies to goods that are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings. GRI 3(b) states, in pertinent part, the following:

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.

Customs must determine which component imparts the garment's essential character. In this instance, the garment is reversible and depending on the choice of the wearer either side is equally suitable for wear. Therefore, neither of the constituent materials impart the essential character of the garment. As none of the constituent materials impart the essential character of the merchandise in question, Customs must look to GRI 3(c) for classification of the article.

GRI 3(c) provides, in pertinent part:

When goods cannot be classified by reference to Rule 3(a) or 3(b), they are to be classified in the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration in determining their classification.

At first glance, the headings that equally merit consideration are Heading 6110, HTSUSA, the provision for knit pullovers, Heading 6205, HTSUSA, the provision for men's or boys shirts, and Heading 6211, HTSUSA, the provision for other garments. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to Heading 6205, HTSUSA, states that shirts are garments designed to cover the upper part of the body, having long or short sleeves and a full or partial opening starting at the neckline. The subject garment is not classifiable under Heading 6205, HTSUSA, since it is not constructed as a shirt of this heading with a partial or full opening. Instead, the subject garment is a pullover. Also considering the heavy weight of the garment it is not designed for use as a shirt. Therefore, the headings that remain under consideration are Headings 6110 and 6211, HTSUSA. As Heading 6211, HTSUSA, comes last in numerical order, the subject article is classifiable under that heading.

Likewise, in this situation we have an item with essentially two uppers, one of plastic classifiable in heading 6402 and another of textile material classifiable in 6404, both headings merit equal consideration. In this regard the footwear is considered a composite good with neither the plastic nor the textile upper providing the essential character. GRI 3 (c) provides that when goods cannot be classified by reference to Rule 3(a) or 3(b), they are to be classified in the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration in determining their classification. In this situation, heading 6404 appears last.

The applicable subheading for footwear style Turnz 180 will be 6404.19.35, (HTS), which provides for footwear with outer soles of rubber/plastics and uppers of textile material, other, other, footwear with open toes or open heel. The general rate of duty will be 37.5 percent ad valorem.

The submitted sample is not marked with the country of origin. Therefore, if imported as is, will not meet the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Accordingly, the footwear would be considered not legally marked under the provisions of 19 C.F.R. 134.11 which states, "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 container) will permit, in such manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article."

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

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: