The ‘Customs Bulletin and Decisions’ (CBP) bulletin, which was released on January 26, explains that US Customs and Border Protection is reclassifying certain girls’ and women’s fashion footwear, which previously had a rate of duty of 9%, as sports shoes, which have a duty rate of 20%.
Non-athletic fashion footwear items that will be affected by the higher rate of duty on sports shoes include certain sneakers or sports shoes that have embroidery, sequins, are closed toe, closed heel and under of the ankle.
The change will impact goods that enter or are removed from a warehouse for consumption on or after March 27, 2022.
International trade law firm Sandler Travis & Rosenberg (ST&R) explains: “Importers of footwear that had been classified as non-sports and subject to lower duty rates because the uppers incorporated embroidery or sequins should reassess these classifications on the basis of this revocation. ”
The law firm also points out that this reclassification changes the long-standing treatment of footwear with textile uppers that have been classified as non-sports because the uppers are embroidered or decorated with sequins.
“After reviewing comments submitted by interested parties, CBP stated that simply adding embroidery to an upper does not necessarily render the shoe unsuitable for athletic use, whether the shoe is actually used for athletic purposes or not. CBP has stated that this position does not conflict with previously issued guidance that specifically listed embroidery as a non-characteristic feature of athletic footwear,” he adds.
The debate over whether shoes are athletic, athleisure, or fashion for classification purposes is often contentious, ST&R says. The latest CBP update, however, makes it clear that embroidery alone is unlikely to prevent the higher duty rate on sneakers.
The law firm adds that this ruling leaves the door open for loosely attached sequins and decorations that could fall off and create a hazard for athletic use, but casts doubt on whether firmly attached sequins would preclude classification. “athletic”.