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NY N020906

January 9, 2008



TARIFF NO.: 6404.11.9050

Mr. Roger J. Crain
Customs Science Services, Inc.
11901 Reynolds Avenue
Potomac, MD 20854-3334

RE: The tariff classification of footwear from China

Dear Mr. Crain:

In your letter dated December 7, 2007, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of K-Swiss for a women’s shoe. The item, identified as “Thin Classic Textile” Style No. 91772-177 is a women’s below-the-ankle, lace-up, athletic style shoe with an outer sole of rubber/plastics and an upper of textile material.

Chapter 64, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, (HTSUS), Additional U.S. Note 2, provides that for purposes of this chapter, the term “tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like” covers athletic footwear other than sports footwear, whether or not principally used for such athletic games or purposes.

Although the shoe has the appearance of a traditional women’s tennis shoe, a lace tie closure, a textile upper and a flexible sole with athletic tread, you contend that it is not “athletic” footwear. You refer to NY M82301 dated May 26, 2006 which compared “athletic” footwear to certain open toe/heel footwear. Specifically, you refer to the portion of the ruling that attempts to list certain construction features indicative of tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like. The cited ruling states in pertinent part;

“We must determine the particular characteristics or purposes that unite tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes or training shoes. We often reference The Complete Footwear Dictionary Compiled and edited by William A Rossi, Copyright 1994, for guidance.”

“there are distinct features characteristic of "athletic" footwear. The features that appear to be consistent are generally a lightweight textile material (usually canvas) upper, a lightweight, flexible rubber outersole that provides traction, lace-to-toe (or some other type of closure system to secure the footwear to the foot), under foot cushioning and padding on the tongue and collar. Other features mentioned are counters, toe tips and ventilation holes.”

The cited ruling does not intentionally suggest or imply that “athletic” footwear must exhibit all the named construction features, but merely that these features are characteristic of “athletic” footwear. You state that the “Thin Classic Textile” Style No. 91772-177 has no under-foot cushioning, no tongue or collar padding, no heel counters, no toe-tips and no ventilation holes and therefore believe that the absence of these features precludes classification as “athletic” footwear.

The submitted sample has a removable foam padded in-sole and a molded plastic heel counter in addition to the previously noted “athletic” characteristics of appearance, textile upper, lace-tie closure and flexible rubber tread outer sole. It is the opinion of this office that “Thin Classic Textile” Style No. 91772-177 is “athletic” footwear for classification purposes.

The applicable subheading for “Thin Classic Textile” Style No. 91772-177 will be 6404.11.9050, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, (HTSUS), which provides for footwear with outer soles of rubber/plastics and uppers of textile material: Sports footwear; tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like: valued over $12/pair, for women. The rate of duty will be 20 percent ad valorem.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

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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