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HQ 084032

June 14, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084032 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6302.51.4000; 6302.51.3000; 6304.92.0000

Ms. Teresa Y. Sze
Carrie Company, Inc.
Thornebrook Shopping Center
2441 N.W. 43rd Street
Gainesville, Florida 32606

RE: Classification of various items of table linen

Dear Ms. Sze:

This ruling is in response to your letter of February 26, 1989, requesting classification of various items of table linen from China.


Several samples were submitted for review. The samples are of place mat and napkin sets (styles MZ-1 to MZ-7), a napkin (style M- 1), a coaster and fingertip napkin set (style C-1), and a bun warmer (style B-1). The place mats of styles MZ-1 to MZ-7 measure approximately 19" x 14"; the napkins are approximately 16" x 16". The sizes vary slightly among the different styles. Style M-1 measures approximately 17" x 16". The coaster of style C-1 measures just over 3" diameter, and the matching fingertip napkin is 6 1/2" x 6 1/2". The bun warmer, style B-1, measures 23" x 23".

All of the items are made of woven cotton fabric and are hand- embroidered. The items will be imported from China.


What is the correct classification for the submitted place mat and napkin sets, napkin, coaster and fingertip napkin set, and bun warmer?

Are the place mats and napkins of styles MZ-1 to MZ-7 classifiable as sets or separately?

Are the coaster and fingertip napkin classifiable as a set?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. The term "sets" is discussed in GRI 3(a). GRI 3(a) 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. The term "heading" is not defined in the nomenclature, but it is clear it refers to the four digit level. In the instant case, we have place mats and napkins that are packaged together for retail sale, as well as a coaster and fingertip napkin that are also packaged together for retail sale. All of these items are classifiable in the same four digit heading. Heading 6302 provides for bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen. 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.

With respect to the place mat and napkin sets and fingertip napkin and coaster set, at the heading level, we do not have "goods put up in sets for retail sale" within the meaning of GRI 3. However, at the eight digit subheading level, we do have items classifiable under two different subheadings--the place mats and the coaster fall in subheading 6302.51.40, HTSUSA; the napkins fall in subheading 6302.51.30, HTSUSA. As these subheadings refer to part only of the items in the sets, the subheadings are to be treated as equally specific, and classification is to be determined by recourse to GRI 3(b).

GRI 3(b) calls for classification according to that item or component from which the set derives its essential character, insofar as that is ascertainable. When it is not possible to make an essential character determination, GRI 3(c) directs the goods be classified under the heading (in this case, subheading) which occurs last in the schedule among those which equally merit consideration.

In the case of the sets under consideration here, we believe they equally contribute to the essential character of the sets. Differences between the items in the sets are slight and debatable. Therefore, classification is based on application of GRI 3(c), i.e., the subheading which occurs last in the schedule.

The bun warmer is not considered table linen. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, which is the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, gives some indication of the types of items intended for inclusion under heading 6302 as table linen. The Notes for table linen give the following items as examples of table linen: table cloths, table mats and runners, tray cloths, table centres, serviettes, tea napkins, sachets for serviettes, doilies, and drip mats. Bun warmers are not mentioned, nor are they similar to any of the named items. While table linen is not limited to the named examples, other items classified as table linen should be similar to or of the same type as those named. Bun warmers are neither of these.

The Explanatory Notes, however, go on to state "that certain articles of the above descriptions (e.g., table centres made from lace, velvet or brocaded materials) are not regarded as articles of table linen; they are usually classified in heading 63.04." Heading 6304, HTSUSA, provides for other furnishing articles, excluding those of Heading 9404. The Notes indicate that the heading is intended to include furnishing articles of textile materials for use in the home, public buildings, theatres, etc. Although bun warmers are not named among the examples given in the Notes, we believe they are properly classifiable under 6304, HTSUSA. Under the Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated, bun warmers like the one before us were classified as furnishings. T.D. 70-108(17) (1970). We find nothing in the HTSUSA to cause us to change their classification to something other than as furnishings.


The place mat and napkin sets, styles MZ-1 to MZ-7, and the coaster and fingertip napkin set, style C-1, are classifiable as sets under the provision for other table linen, of cotton, other, subheading 6302.51.4000, textile category 369, dutiable at 7.2 percent ad valorem.

The napkin, style M-1, is classifiable under the provision for other table linen, of cotton, tablecloths and napkins, other, other, subheading 6302.51.3000, HTSUSA, textile category 369, dutiable at 6.6 percent ad valorem.

The bun warmer is classifiable under the provision for other furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404, other, not knitted or crocheted, of cotton, subheading 6304.92.0000, textile category 369, dutiable at 7.2 percent ad valorem.

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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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