Mr. John Pellegrini
McGuire Woods LLP
1345 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10105-0106
RE: The tariff classification of three composition leather materials, identified as E-Leather, for use in the manufacture of footwear and upholstery, from the United Kingdom.
Dear Mr. Pellegrini:
In your letter dated January 18, 2006, on behalf of B&H Research, Ltd., you requested a tariff classification ruling.
Three representative samples were submitted which were identified as styles 569-001 (composition E – Suede), 566-004 (Corrected Grain Action Footwear E-Leather) and 571-001 (Corrected Grain Upholstery E- Leather), respectively.
You write that all three materials consist of three layers. The top and bottom layers are of leather fibers with a small percentage of synthetic (textile) fibers. The middle layers consist of continuous synthetic textile fibers in the form of a woven or knit fabric. The top surfaces of styles 566-004 and 571-001 are finished with polyurethane coatings in the thicknesses of 0.10 mm.
Specifically, you state that E-Laather is produced in a patented process, which mechanically interlinks leather fibers using very high-pressure fine water jets. The leather fibers are not held together by resins. The new materials have a fibrous structure, which in micrographs closely resembles the structure of natural leather.
The synthetic fibers that are combined with the leather fibers are primarily polypropylene. The core textile material can be knit or woven. Nylon and polyester fibers are used most frequently but other man-made and natural fibers may be used.
The polyurethane coatings are applied as a liquid to a silicon release paper and then applied to the respective surfaces of the materials with a small amount of adhesive. The coating is approximately 0.1 mm in thickness. There is no textile backing and the plastic material is compact.
These materials will be used in the manufacture of footwear and upholstery. The material is used in the same fashion as leather. In the case of footwear, the materials will be cut into upper components and assembled to make an upper. The three layers function as a unified material. There is no sense in which the layers will have separate functions in the end product.
Composition leather covers only composition leather with a basis of leather or leather fibers. It does not apply to imitation leathers based on plastics, rubber, paper, paperboard or coated textile fabrics. The items described above appear to have a basis of leather fibers.
Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the three materials will be 4115.10.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for "Composition leather with a basis of leather or leather fiber, in slabs, sheets or strip, whether or not in rolls; parings and other waste of leather or of composition leather, not suitable for the manufacture of leather articles; leather dust, powder and flour: Composition leather with a basis of leather or leather fiber, in slabs, sheets or strip, whether or not in rolls." The rate of duty will be Free.
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 Deborah Walsh at 646-733-3044.
Robert B. Swierupski