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HQ 085571

December 7, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085571 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6307.10.2015

Mr. Bernard Rowe
Mehler Textiles International, Ltd.
99 West Hawthorne Avenue
Suite 512
P.O. Box 877
Valley Stream, NY 11580

RE: Towels predominately used in print shops to absorb and wipe away ink are shop towels used in machine shops. HRL 084799 affirmed.

Dear Mr. Rowe:

This is in reply to your letter of September 12, 1989, requesting reconsideration of HRL 084799 of September 6, 1989.


The merchandise at issue consists of 55% ramie, 45% cotton towels, loosely woven, coarse, of greige fabric, measuring approximately 18" x 30". We assume that the merchandise is produced in a Column 1 country. You have stated that the towels are predominantly used in the printing industry to wipe and absorb surplus ink. In addition, the towels are also used as polishing cloths to wipe down brass, marble, etc.

In HRL 084799, we classified these items under subheading 6307.10.2015, HTSUSA, as shop towels dedicated for use in garag- es, filling stations and machine shops, of other materials. You claim that the instant merchandise is quite unusual for the machine shop industry; ergo, classification under a subheading dedicating machine shop use is improper.


Whether the instant merchandise is classifiable as a shop towel under the HTSUSA?


Subheading 6307.10.1000, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, polishing cloths, of cotton. You claim that as the instant merchandise is of a type typically used in the polishing indus- try, classification herein would be more appropriate.

As we stated above, the towels are composed of 55% ramie and 45% cotton. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule.

GRI 1 states, in pertinent part:

... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ....

Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs, taken in order.

Subheading Note 2 to Section XI, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part:

(A) Products of chapters 56 to 63 containing two or more textile materials are to be re- garded as consisting wholly of that textile material which would be selected under note 2 to this section for the classification of a product of chapters 50 to 55 consisting of the same textile materials.

Note 2(A), Section XI, to which Subheading Note 2(A) refers, provides:

Goods classifiable in chapters 50 to 55 or in heading 5809 or 5902 and of a mixture of two or more textile materials are to be classified as if consisting wholly of that one textile material which predominates by weight over each other textile material.

In applying the Section Note, we have stated that:

Subheading Note 2(A) is dependent on the application of Section XI Note 2(A). The subheading note states that the classification of textile garments and articles will be governed by the textile material selected under the section note. However, the section note is directed towards the classification of yarns and fabrics which are a "mixture" of two or more textile mate- rials. According to the Harmonized Commodity

Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, at page 705 . . ., textile materials may be mixed:

-prior to or during spinning;
-during twisting;
-during weaving.

HRL 084012 PR of June 12, 1989.

As the towels are in chief weight ramie, they are considered "of ramie," and classification as polishing cloths of cotton is impossible.

Subheading 6307.10.2015, HTSUSA, provides for shop towels not of cotton, dedicated for use in garages, filling stations and machine shops. You have claimed that since the instant merchandise is used predominately in the "printing industry," rather than the "machine shop industry," and as towels must be "dedicated for use in such shops, classification as a shop towel was incorrect.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level (the first six digits). Since shop towels are provided for only at the statistical breakout level (the ninth and tenth digits of the tariff schedule), the Explanatory Notes do not specifically reference machine shops or shop towels.

Machine shops have not been defined for purposes of heading 6307, HTSUSA. In HRL 046827 PR of January 19, 1977 (TSUS) (citing Summaries of Trade and Tariff Information, vol. 5 at 68, (TC Publication 245, 1968)), we held that "shop towels (industrial wiping cloths), ... are used in garages, print shops and other industrial establishments for wiping machine parts and cleaning away ink, grease, oil, etc...."

Rulings issued under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) are normally not binding on HTSUSA ruling requests.

It is our opinion, however, that since machine shops are provided for only at the statistical breakout level (applicable solely to merchandise imported into the United States), rulings decided under the previous United States tariff schedule are germane to our analysis.

As we stated above, the instant merchandise is used in the printing industry to wipe and absorb surplus ink. Shop towels used in garages and filling stations are used to wipe and absorb oil, grease, etc. Construction and design of both types of towels are virtually identical, with print shop towels being slightly larger. Based upon this, and taking into account the
decision in HRL 046827, supra, we feel that the instant towels are shop towels used in machine shops.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 6307.10.2015, HTSUSA, textile catego- ry 863, as other made up articles, including dress patterns, floorcloths, dishcloths, dusters and similar cleaning cloths, other, shop towels dedicated for use in garages, filling stations and machine shops, other. The applicable rate of duty is 10.5 percent ad valorem.

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 agree- ments 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 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.

Pursuant to section 177.9, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177.9), HRL 084799 of September 6, 1989, is affirmed, in conformity with the foregoing.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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