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HQ 081834

September 22, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 081834 CB


TARIFF NO.: 6302.60.0020; 6302.91.0015; 6307.10.2027; 6304.92.0000

Mr. Shin Maruyama
Hiraoka New York, Inc.
79 Madison Avenue
Suite 1107
New York, New York 10016

RE: Classification of towel sets

Dear Mr. Maruyama:

This ruling is in response to your letter of December 11, 1987, requesting a classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), for towel sets.


The submitted sample consists of a bath, hand, fingertip and kitchen towel; and a wash cloth, dish cloth, and potholder. All of the articles are made of 100 percent cotton. The kitchen towel and dish cloth are of woven fabric. The balance of the items are of loop terry.


Are the towels classifiable as a "set" under the HTSUSA, or individually under Chapter 63?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 states, in part, that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes...." The term "sets" is discussed in GRI 3(b). It provides that when two or more headings each refer to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods. In the instant case, we
have bathroom and kitchen towels packaged together for retail sale that are classifiable in different headings. Heading 6302 provides for bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen. However, it specifically excludes dish cloths which are classifiable in 6307. Relying on GRI 3, no guidance is given as to how goods are to be classified together or separately below the four digit level.

GRI 6 provides that for legal purposes, classification of goods in the subheading of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes, and mutatis mutandis, to the above rules, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. GRI 6 thus incorporates GRIs 1 through 5 in classifying goods at the subheading level. Since GRI 6 uses the phrase "for legal purposes" the preceding GRIs are to be applied at the level necessary for the final legal classification of the goods for tariff purposes. GRI 6 requires the use of GRI 3 at the eight digit level in the HTSUSA, since it is that level at which the classification of the merchandise is ultimately determined. Thus, in order to be classifiable as a "set", the components must be classifiable in at least two different subheadings.

However, GRI 3(b) also requires that the "set" consist of articles put up to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity. The subject merchandise is used to meet two different needs. The bath towels are to be used in the bathroom and the dish towels are to be used in the kitchen. Therefore, the subject merchandise fails to meet a requirement of GRI 3(b) and cannot be considered a "set" for classification purposes, and will be classified separately.

Having determined that the merchandise at issue is not a set, we still must classify the towels. The bath towels are classifiable in 6302.60.0020, as toilet linen, of terry toweling, of cotton, other. The kitchen towel is classifiable in 6302.91.0020, as kitchen linen, other, of cotton, dish.

The dish cloth is classifiable in 6307.10.2025, other made up articles, other, dishcloths. The potholder is classifiable under 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA, as other furnishing articles.


The bath towels are classifiable in subheading 6302.60.0020. The rate of duty is 10.3% ad valorem and fall under textile category 363.

The kitchen towel is classifiable in subheading 6302.91.0015. The rate of duty for the kitchen towel is 10.5% ad valorem and the textile category is 363. The dishcloth is classifiable in subheading 6307.10.2027. The rate of duty is 10.5% ad valorem and the textile category is 369.

The potholder is classifiable under subheading 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA. The rate of duty is 7.2% ad valorem and the textile category is 369.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at your local Customs office.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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