Footwear is classified in Chapter 64 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). In October 2011, the HTSUS codes were modified (i), which included, among other changes, insertion of the Additional Note 5 to Chapter 64 of HTSUS, which states:
For the purposes of determining the constituent material of the outer sole pursuant to Note 4(b) to this Chapter, no account shall be taken of textile materials which do not possess the characteristics usually required for normal use of an outer sole, including durability and strength.
In Note 5, above, the criteria for determining the ‘durability and strength’ were not clearly defined. To assist the industry in clarifying these criteria, in March 2013 (ii) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a proposed rule that would use ISO 20871 test method to assess the ‘durability and strength’ property.
On November 13, 2013 (iii), the CBP published the final rule in Customs Bulletin and Decisions. The rule became effective November 13, 2013. As proposed the final rule adopts ISO 20871 test method to assess the durability and strength of the textile material attached to the outer sole. The requirement, according to the discussion in preamble of the final rule, is that the textile material should be present on at least one of the three specimens tested to the ISO 20871 method for it to be considered to possess the characteristics usually required for normal use of an outer sole, i.e., to meet durability and strength criteria in Note 5.
Dr. Pratik Ichhaporia