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HQ 086147

February 21, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086147 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 5111.19.1000; 5112.19.1000

Adam Hainsworth, Esq.
A. W. Hainsworth & Sons Ltd.
Spring Valley Mills
West Yorkshire LS28 6DW
United Kingdom

RE: Snooker Cloth

Dear Mr. Hainsworth:

This is in reply to your letter dated October 26, 1989, in which you enquired as to the tariff classification of snooker cloth under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise in question is a special nap cloth required for the game of snooker, a form of billiards. The cloth, which is manufactured in England, is 76 inches wide and comes in weights ranging from 400 grams per square meter to 610 grams per square meter. The cloth will be imported in rolls.

Samples were submitted of style 7638 (610 grams) and style 7625 (400 grams).


Whether 100 percent wool snooker cloth is deemed to be an upholstery fabric under the HTSUSA, or whether it is considered to be an other woven fabric of wool.


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.

There is no eo nomine provision for snooker cloth or other billiard fabric under the HTSUSA; however, woven fabrics of wool such as the snooker cloth at issue are covered by heading 5111, HTSUSA (carded wool), and heading 5112, HTSUSA (combed wool). If the cloth in question is considered to be upholstery fabric it is classifiable in either subheadings 5111.19.10 or 5112.19.10, HTSUSA; alternatively, it is classifiable in either subheadings 5111.19.60 or 5112.19.60, HTSUSA.

Webster's New World Dictionary (Third College Edition 1988), at 1466, defines the verb "to upholster" as:
to fit out (furniture, etc.) with covering material, padding, springs, etc.
and the noun "upholstery" as:

1. the fittings and material used in upholstering.

Snooker cloth, the covering material in question, is used to recover tables whose surface has become worn. Customs is therefore of the view that the merchandise at issue is upholstery material within the general meaning of that term.

The issue of what constitutes an upholstery fabric for tariff purposes was considered by the court in Bing & Co.'s Successors v. United States, 3 Ct. Cust. App. 115 (1912), and later in Alfano & Co. et al v. United States, 15 Ct. Cust. App. 228 (1927). In Alfano, the issue before the court was whether figured Jacquard woven cotton cloth (ticking) to be used for covering box springs, bed mattresses and bed pillows was classifiable as upholstery cloth in paragraph 909 of the Tariff Act of 1922. In Alfano, 15 Ct. Cust. App. 228, 230-31, Judge Barber, in delivering the opinion of the court held in pertinent part:

We think it is clear, in view of the opinion in the Bing case and the definitions recognized by all lexicographers, that the common meaning of upholstery includes not only certain articles upholstered, but also the material used in upholstering the same, whether such articles or materials are decorative or not. So assuming, the provision for Jacquard woven upholstery cloths, in the piece or otherwise, includes Jacquard woven cloths used as material for upholstery purposes.

The importer, however, further contends that the ticking in question is not upholstery cloth...urging in
support of this contention that such articles are not furniture but are household goods.

We deem any considerable discussion of this contention unnecessary. It may be true that the term "household goods" includes box springs, bed mattresses and bed pillows, but that fact does not prevent them from being either upholstery or articles upholstered. It is common knowledge that articles other than chairs and couches are upholstered that is, covered in part or in whole with some material, textile or otherwise and without doubt the material used for such upholstering is upholstery material. (emphasis added).

In light of the above, it is Customs" position that so long as fabric is used to surface, cover or fit out, in whole or in part, articles broadly defined by the term "furniture," it is classifiable under the HTSUSA as upholstery fabric.

Webster's New World Dictionary (Third College Edition, 1988), at 547 defines "furniture" in relevant part as:

2. the things, usually movable, in a room, apartment, etc. which equip it for living, as chairs, sofas, tables, beds, etc.

3. the necessary equipment of a machine, ship, trade, etc.

Snooker, billiard and other games tables are used both within the home and without, e.g., bars, pool halls. In either event, such games tables are furniture, that is, items which equip a room or business for living or trade. However, billiard and other games furniture is specifically excluded from Chapter 94, HTSUSA, which covers furniture. Note 1, Chapter 94, HTSUSA, states in pertinent part:

This chapter does not cover:

(l) Toy furniture or toy lamps or lighting fittings (heading 9503), billiard tables or other furniture specifically constructed for games (heading 9504)... (emphasis added).

While it excludes billiard tables from Chapter 94, the Note nevertheless implicitly recognizes that such articles are furniture, albeit of a specialized type.

Consequently, snooker and billiard tables are "furniture" within the broad meaning of that term. Since they are considered to be "furniture" for Customs' purposes (although excluded from Chapter 94 of the HTSUSA), and since the fabric in question is
used to cover them, it is therefore Customs' position that snooker cloth is classifiable as upholstery fabric.


The merchandise in question, if carded, is classifiable in subheading 5111.19.1000, HTSUSA, under the provision for woven fabrics containing 85 percent or more by weight of wool or fine animal hair, other, tapestry fabrics and upholstery fabrics. The cloth is dutiable at 7 percent ad valorem and is subject to textile category 410.

If combed, the snooker cloth at issue is classifiable in subheading 5112.19.1000, HTSUSA, under the provision for woven fabrics containing 85 percent or more by weight of wool or fine animal hair, other, tapestry fabrics and upholstery fabrics, and is dutiable at 7 percent ad valorem and subject to quota category 410.

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 advise your importer to check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at their local Customs office.

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


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