United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1991 HQ Rulings > HQ 0086429 - HQ 0086997 > HQ 0086860

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 086860

November 9, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086860 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6213.20.1000

John B. Pellegrini, Esq.
Ross & Hardies
529 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10017-4608

RE: Reconsideration of HRL 084964; classification of a handkerchief with a triangle embroidered in one corner

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

This ruling is in response to your submission of March 26, 1990, on behalf of I. Shalom & Company, Inc., requesting reconsideration of HRL 084964 of September 19, 1989. That ruling classified a woven cotton handkerchief embroidered in one corner in non-contrasting stitching with a triangle measuring 14 cm by 9 cm as a handkerchief not containing lace or embroidery in subheading 6213.20.10, HTSUSA. A sample handkerchief was received with your submission.


The subject handkerchief is made of woven cotton and measures approximately 46 cm by 46 cm. The handkerchief is hemmed on all sides and has a triangle embroidered in one corner. The triangle has sides which measure 14 mm., 14 mm. and 9 mm. The handkerchiefs will be sold in clear plastic packaging in quantities of three, six and a dozen. The handkerchiefs will be folded so that the embroidery is visible to prospective purchasers.


Was the subject handkerchief correctly classified in HRL 084964 in subheading 6213.20.10, HTSUSA, as a handkerchief not containing lace or embroidery, or should it be classified as an embroidered handkerchief in subheading 6213.20.20, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

This article is clearly a handkerchief. The issue is whether the triangle which appears in one corner is significant enough to justify classification of the handkerchief as an embroidered handkerchief. In HRL 084964, Customs held that in order for the handkerchief to be considered embroidered, the embroidery should produce an ornamental effect and that in this case, the embroidery failed to produce such an ornamental effect. Since the embroidered triangle failed to perform a commercial purpose, it did not affect the classification of the merchandise.

In your arguments for classification of this handkerchief as embroidered, you point out that the breakout for cotton handker- chiefs not containing lace or embroidery and other cotton handkerchiefs appears at the eight digit level (the United States legal level). For this reason, you believe that previous judicial and administrative decisions which construe the term embroidery should be taken into account. We agree. However, we disagree with your conclusion that a review of these judicial and administrative decisions leads to a classification of the subject handkerchief as embroidered. In fact, we reach the exact opposite conclusion.

In Baylis Brothers, Inc. v. United States, 60 Cust. Ct. 336, C.D. 3383 (1968), aff'd, 416 F.2d 1383 (CCPA 1969), [which you cite in your submission for the proposition that the stitching need not be in a contrasting color], the Court discusses embroidery and states: "By definition and legislative and judicial understanding, it is established that the operative feature of embroidery, for tariff purposes, is the ornamental characteristic of the stitching." Id. at 339.

Two rulings, NYRL 816071 (December 27, 1985) and NYRL 831513 (September 9, 1988), are cited in your submission to support classification of the subject handkerchief as embroidered. The first involved an embroidered cloverleaf design in one corner of a handkerchief; the other, an embroidered monogram. Each was classified as ornamented with embroidery. These rulings are specific to the articles at issue in them. The cloverleaf design is described as decorative in NYRL 817071. NYRL 831513 is silent regarding the embroidered monogram.

In HRL 084964, Customs ruled that the triangle embroidered in the corner of the subject handkerchief did not produce an ornamental effect. This determination was based on a visual examination of the handkerchief. Upon reexamination, we see no reason to change our decision.

We believe the triangle embroidered in one corner of the subject handkerchief to be negligible and find support for our position in United States v. Harden, 68 Fed. 182, 15 C.C.A. 358, cert. denied, 163 U.S. 709 (1895). In that case, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the circuit court correctly held that cotton hemstitched handkerchiefs embroidered with only an initial letter were not classified as embroidered and hemstitched handkerchiefs. The court stated two grounds for its decision. The first was that these goods were not commercially regarded as embroidered. The second, and especially pertinent here, was that "the embroidery of a single letter upon the corner of the handkerchief is so limited in its extent and of such comparative narrowness as not to require that the handkerchiefs should be regarded as embroidered." Harden, 68 Fed. at 183.

We believe the triangle embroidered in one corner of the subject handkerchief is akin to the single letter discussed in Harden. It is so limited and inconsequential as not to require that the handkerchief be considered as embroidered.


The classification of the subject handkerchief as set forth in HRL 084964 of September 19, 1989, is affirmed. The handkerchief is classified in subheading 6213.20.1000, HTSUSA, which provides for handkerchiefs, of cotton, hemmed, not containing lace or embroidery. The textile category is 330 and the rate of duty is 14 percent ad valorem.

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 internal 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 Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: