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HQ 084801

September 7, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G: 084801 DPS


TARIFF NO.: 4601.20.9000, 6302.59.0000, 4602.10.5000

Beth C. Brotman, Esq.
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Whitehall Street
New York, New York 10004

RE: Classification of placemats from the Philippines

Dear Ms. Brotman:

Your letter of May 9, 1989, on behalf of McCrory Stores, to our New York office, has been referred to this office for a ruling on the tariff classification of two styles of placemats to be imported from the Philippines, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples of the subject merchandise were included with your letter.


The articles requiring classification consist of two styles of placemats from the Philippines. The first, Style No. DP- 038/357491, is an octagonally-shaped abaca/baclad (vegetable fiber) placemat, manufactured of abaca strips, aligned parallel to each other and woven. It has a braided capping stitched on to prevent raveling. Approximately one inch from the capping is a stitched-on decorative strip of the same style and material as the capping. Between the capping and the decorative strip, lies a one inch wide strip of decorative openwork fabric resembling a form of netting.

The second item, Style No. DP-040/357384, is an oval-shaped placemat, which appears to be manufactured of twisted abaca/twine. The fibrous yarns of this style are braided together and then interwoven with one another to form the placemat. The placemat is comprised of concentric braids of various widths, which are attached by looped abaca threads. Its edging has a scalloped design and is made of the same material used throughout the placemat.

You assert that both items are classifiable as "Basketwork, wickerwork and other articles, made directly to shape from plaiting materials or made up from articles of heading 4601; articles of loofah: Of vegetable materials: Other: Other," under subheading 4602.10.5000, HTSUSA.


Whether the subject placemats are properly classifiable as basketwork, wickerwork and other articles, made directly to shape from plaiting materials, under Chapter 4602, HTSUSA; as plaits and similar products of plaiting materials, whether or not assembled into strips, bound together in parallel strands or woven in sheet form, under Chapter 4601, HTSUSA: or, as table linen of "other" textile materials under Chapter 6302, HTSUSA.


The General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System (GRI's) govern classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. According to GRI 1, the primary consideration in determining whether merchandise should be classified in a heading should be given to the language of the heading and to any relevant chapter or section notes. Inasmuch as the two styles of placemats are constructed differently, using different materials, at least two headings may apply to the items at issue. The relevant subheadings include:

(a) 4601.20.6000, Plaits and similar products of plaiting materials, whether or not assembled into strips; plaiting materials, plaits and similar products of plaiting materials, bound together in parallel strands or woven, in sheet form, whether or not being finished articles (for example, mats, matting, screens): Mats, matting and screens of vegetable materials: Other;

(b) 4602.10.50000, Basketwork, wickerwork and other articles, made directly to shape from plaiting materials or made up from articles of heading 4601; articles of loofah: Of vegetable materials: other; and

(c) 6302.59.0000, Bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen: Other table linen: Of other textile materials.

Here, in deciding how the subject merchandise is classified, a determination of which provision most accurately describes the merchandise is necessary.

Style No. DP-038/357491 (referred to hereafter as "Placemat No. 1"), is made of fibrous abaca strips aligned parallel to each other and woven. The decorative strip and edging serve to enhance the mat's appearance without changing its essential character, which is created by the woven abaca strips. Counsel asserts that placemat no. 1 should be classified as other basketwork and wickerwork under 4602.10.5000, HTSUSA. Upon review of the competing subheadings, 4601.20.6000 and 4602.10.5000, it is apparent that the subheading 4601.20.6000 more accurately describes the subject merchandise. Placemat no. 1 is comprised of vertical strips of vegetable fibers, which are aligned in parallel strips and bound together by weaving into sheet form. Chapter 46, Note 3, provides a definition of "plaiting materials" as it applies to Heading 4601. It states:

For the purposes of heading No. 46.01, the expression 'plaiting materials, bound together in strands' means plaiting materials, plaits and similar products of plaiting materials, placed side by side and bound together, in the form of sheets, whether or not the binding materials are of spun textile materials.

Here, the placemat no. 1 squarely falls into 4601 as matting. 4602, the provision for basketwork and wickerwork does not apply to this item. The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA, which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, confirm this position in the notes to Chapter 4602, under (ii), at page 653. Accordingly, placemat no. 1 is classifiable under subheading 4601.20.6000, HTSUSA.

Style no. DP-040/357384 (referred to hereafter as "Style No. 2) is made of twisted abaca twine. Once twisted, the vegetable fiber yarns are braided and then interwoven together to form the placemat. Because the abaca fiber used to make the yarn, which comprises the placemat, is described in the Explanatory Notes to Chapter 53 as being a textile fiber, classification is appropriate within Sectioin XI, as a textile product. The vegetable fibers which make up placemat no. 2 are cabable of being twisted or spun and are not considered to be plaiting materials in accordance with the definition of "plaiting materials" provided in the notes to Chapter 46. This placemat is not made from plaiting materials as defined by the HTSUSA and the accompanying Explanatory Notes, and therefore is not classifiable in subheading 4602.10.5000, as the importer's counsel asserts. The subheading within the textile section which most accurately describes placemat no. 2 is the provision for table linen of other textile materials, subheading 6302.59.0000, HTSUSA.


Placemat no. 1, style no. DP-038/357491, is classifiable under subheading 4601.20.6000, HTSUSA, as plaiting materials, bound together in parallel strands or woven, in sheet form. The corresponding rate of duty is 4.8 percent ad valorem.

Placemat no. 2, style no. DP-040/357384, is classifiable under subheading 6302.59.0000, HTSUSA, as table linen of other textile materials. Items classified under this subheading are subject to a duty rate of 10 percent ad valorem. The designated textile category is 899.

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.

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


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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