Read the Federal Circuit’s decision [PDF 171 KB] which includes a dissenting opinion.
The imported boots (consisting of a knit upper portion and a rubber sole, with no laces, buckets, or other fasteners) were liquidated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under subheading 19.35 (footwear with soles of rubber as well as slip-on type footwear), subject to a duty rate of 37.5%.
The importer challenged that classification and asserted the appropriate classification was HTSUS subheading 6404.19.50 (a basket provision covering footwear with outer soles of rubber and uppers of textile materials) subject to a duty rate of 9%.
The trade court granted the government’s motion for summary judgment, relying in part on a Customs publication “Footwear Definitions” designed to assist importers understand footwear classification requirements.
The Federal Circuit majority opinion today affirmed the trade court, finding that the statutory language, definition of “slip-on” in the “Footwear Definitions,” and common and commercial understanding of the term “slip-on” all support the trade court’s conclusions.
The dissenting opinion found that the common and commercial meaning of the term “footwear of the slip-on type, that is held to the foot without the use of laces or buckles or other fasteners” excludes boots that rise above the ankle and that are not easy to slip on.
For more information, contact a professional with KPMG’s Trade & Customs practice:
John L. McLoughlin
Todd R. Smith
Luis A. Abad
Or your local KPMG Trade & Customs professional.