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HQ 083277

February 22, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083277 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 5208.21.6090

Mr. Mario A. Ruiz
Vice President
Sales and Marketing
Latin America/Caribbean
Smith & Nephew United, Inc.
P.O. Box 1970
Largo, Florida 34639-1970

RE: Woven Cotton Gauze Cloth from South Africa

Dear Mr. Ruiz:

This is in reply to John Lustig's letter of October 11, 1988, requesting a tariff classification ruling concerning the above-referenced merchandise. A sample of the merchandise was submitted with your request.


The article in question is a bolt of plain woven, bleached, 100 percent cotton fabric, manufactured in South Africa by your affiliate, Smith & Nephew Ltd. The fabric contains 20 single threads per inch in the warp and 14 single threads per inch in the filling. The fabric weighs 16.6 g/m. The average yarn number is 80 in the metric system.

You state that your company is responsible for coordinating the export sales of your parent company, Smith & Nephew, P.L.C., and its affiliates, in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. Although you have no sales responsibilities within the U.S. domestic market, you state that you may wish to hold products manufactured by your South African affiliate in bond in Miami for the sole purpose of re-exporting them to markets in Latin America.


Whether the cotton fabric in question is classifiable in heading 5803 or heading 5208, HTSUSA, and whether this and other products of South African origin may be held in bond in the United States.


Articles are classified under the HTSUSA in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of articles is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided the headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order.

Heading 5803, HTSUSA, covers gauze, other than narrow woven fabrics of heading 5806. The Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level, state in regard to heading 5803 that:

The heading does not apply to plain loosely woven fabrics of plain weave, such as those chiefly used for bandages and dressings; these are often called gauze but fall in heading 30.05 (if medicated or put up in forms or packing for retail sale for medical, surgical, dental or veterinary purposes) or Chapters 50 to 55.

The gauze at issue is marketed to the hospital and medical market and is therefore excluded from heading 5803.

Heading 5208, HTSUSA, covers woven fabrics of cotton, containing 85 percent or more by weight of cotton, weighing not more than 200 g/m. The Explanatory Note to heading 5802 states in relevant part that:

This heading covers woven fabrics (as defined in Part (I) (C) of the General Explanatory Note to Section XI) weighing not more than 200 g/m, containing 85% or more by weight of cotton.

The Note excludes bandages (heading 3005), fabrics of heading 5801, terry toweling of heading 5802, gauze (heading 5803) and woven fabrics for technical uses (heading 5911). The fabric in question is not covered by the enumerated exclusions. Moreover, the fabric meets the technical specifications for inclusion in heading 5802; it weighs less than 200 g/m and is more than 85 percent cotton by weight. Thus it is Customs' position that the woven cotton fabric in question is classifiable in heading 5802, HTSUSA.

However, in accordance with the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986, 22 U.S.C. 5001-5116, and the South African Transactions Regulations, codified at 31 CFR, Part 545, certain items produced or manufactured in South Africa are prohibited from importation into the United States. 31 CFR 545.211, specifically prohibits the importation of South African uranium ore, uranium oxide, coal and textiles into the United States. The Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of Treasury, regularly notifies the Customs Service of prohibited South African articles under the HTSUSA. South African articles listed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control as prohibited from entering the United States include, inter alia, all textile articles provided for in HTSUSA Chapters 50 to 63.

Other Agency Compliance Circular No. 196, CIE N-45/87, dated July 21, 1987, provides in pertinent part that:

13. Entry of goods into Customs bonded warehouses or admittance into foreign-trade zones is permissible only if the goods would be permitted entry for consumption under these instructions.

Since the entry for consumption of South African textile products is prohibited, the entry of such merchandise in bond or its admittance into a foreign-trade zone is similarly prohibited.


The woven cotton gauze cloth in question is classifiable in subheading 5208.21.6090, HTSUSA, under the provision for woven fabrics of cotton..., bleached, plain weave, weighing not more than 100 g/m, of number 69 or higher, cheesecloth; lawns, voiles or batistes, and is subject to duty at a rate of 13.5 percent ad valorem. The textile category is 226. Articles from South Africa with this classification are prohibited from entering the United States pursuant to the South African Transactions Regulations (specifically, 31 CFR 545.211). Accordingly, Smith & Nephew's proposed importation of woven cotton gauze cloth and other South African products is prohibited. Further questions concerning the prohibition of South African imports should be directed to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Department of Treasury, Washington, D.C.


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