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HQ 087437

September 1, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087437 JS


TARIFF NO.: 5207.10.0000

Stephen J. Schilt
Titan Needlecraft
P.O. Box 2095
Santa Ana, CA 92707

RE: Cotton Embroidery Floss Box

Dear Mr. Schilt:

This is in reply to your letter of May 17, 1990, requesting a quota weight determination for a cotton embroidery floss box to be exported from the Peoples Republic of China.


The merchandise at issue is a 9"x 11" plastic carrying case with a built-in handle and two snap closures along the top edge. It contains a non-removable plastic tray which is specially shaped to accommodate over a hundred bobbins of colored embroidery thread; these cotton threads weigh a total of 172 grams, and the entire kit weighs 707 grams. A cardboard pocket on the inside flap contains a plastic skein holder; it also has printed instructions, a conversion chart and ruler markings along the bottom edge of the pocket.


What is the appropriate weight, for visa and quota purposes, of embroidery yarns packaged in a set?


In order to determine the applicable weight of the merchandise at issue, the goods must first be classified. Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification shall be determined
according to the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI many be applied, taken in order.

In this case, the articles that make up the embroidery kit fall under three separate headings in the Nomenclature. The carrying case, easy skein holder and bobbins are included under heading 3923, HTSUSA, which provides for articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics. The embroidery floss is classified as cotton yarn put up for retail sale within heading 5207, HTSUSA, and the cardboard pocket is deemed printed matter under heading 4911, HTSUSA.

Since no heading, by itself, covers the subject merchandise, classification cannot be determined by applying GRI 1 alone. GRI 3, however, provides the relevant analysis, as follows:

When by application of Rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be affected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, 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, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

Since the embroidery kit at issue consists of, at least, both plastic and textile articles, which are separately provided for in the Nomenclature, GRI 3(b) applies as follows:

(b) ...goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.

Explanatory Note X to GRI 3(b) of the HTSUSA, which constitutes the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, provides, in part:

(X) For the purposes of this Rule, the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking (e.g., in boxes or in cases or on boards).

In this case, the merchandise qualifies as a set within the meaning of GRI 3. The embroidery kit consists of at least two different articles which are classifiable in different headings. The set contains articles which are intended for use during a specific craft, and, the plastic carrying case indicates that the kit is put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states that:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In this case, the essential character of the embroidery kit is imparted by the cotton embroidery floss. The plastic tray is specially designed to accommodate the cotton floss, and since it is not removable, it is clear that the focus and purpose of the encasing is the embroidery floss. The instructions and measuring guides displayed on the inside pocket, as well as the plastic tool provided therein, is further evidence of the kit's intended use in the craft of embroidery, for which the cotton floss is the essential material.

Where goods have been classified as a set pursuant to GRI 3(b), Customs directive VBT 89-64 requires that only the net weight of the textile articles (emphasis added) is subject to visa requirements and quota reporting. Accordingly, 172 grams, the net weight of the cotton embroidery floss, is the weight of the set for quota purposes.


The cotton embroidery floss is classified under heading 5207.10.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for cotton yarn (other than sewing thread) put up for retail sale: containing 85 percent or more by weight of cotton, textile category 200, and dutiable at the rate of 5 percent ad valorem.

The net weight of the textile articles in a set, as determined by GRI 3(b), determines the weight of the set for quota purposes. In this case, that weight is 1,898 lbs. for a proposed shipment of 5,000 sets.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the 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 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 for inspection at your 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, 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 Operations Division

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