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HQ 087471

September 21, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087471 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 6307.10.2005

Mr. Ron Hodge
F.H. Kaysing Co. of Wichita
P.O. Box 12497
Wichita, KS 67277

RE: Towels of osnaburg fabric not classifiable as kitchen linen of heading 6302. Subheading 6307.10.20 embraces all towels fitting the description of shop towels. Bales must be marked with country of origin until they reach the ultimate purchaser; or if repacked, the towels must comply with the certification requirements of 19 CFR 134.26.

Dear Mr. Hodge:

This is in reply to your letter dated May 22, 1990, to the District Director of Customs, St Louis, on behalf of your client, The Enterprises, Inc., in which you requested a binding ruling on the classification of shop towels under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). You have also enquired as to the marking requirements applicable to the instant merchandise. A sample was submitted with your request.


The article at issue is a 100 percent woven cotton osnaburg towel, with a thread count of 8 to 10, and measures approximately 17 square inches. The towels are made in Mexico and will be entered through the port of Wichita, Kansas.

The towels will be imported in bales containing 2,500 towels per bale. Each bale will be wrapped in cloth with lettering in black, blue or red ink reading "Made in Mexico, 100% Cotton, Visa No. ____." The towels will be sold as imported, i.e., in the original bales. The towels will subsequently be resold to purchasers in the aircraft industry. No information as to how the shop towels will be packaged when resold has been provided.


Whether the towels in question are classifiable as kitchen linen or as other made up articles.

Whether the country of origin marking requirements, 19 U.S.C. 1304, are satisfied by marking the bales in which shop towels are imported, or whether the towels themselves must be marked to indicate the country of origin.



Heading 6302, HTSUSA, provides for bed linen, table linen, toilet and kitchen linen. You maintain that shop towels should be classified in subheading 6302.91.0050, HTSUSA, the residual provision of heading 6302, on the basis that they are used for general cleaning and absorbing purposes. The Explanatory Notes (1990) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, provide in pertinent part at EN 63.02, 863, that the articles classifiable in heading 6302 include:

(4) Kitchen linen such as tea towels and glass cloths. Articles such as floor cloths, dish cloths, scouring cloths, dusters and similar cleaning cloths, generally made of coarse thick material, are not regarded as falling within the description "kitchen linen" and are excluded (heading 6307).

The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories ("Textile Guidelines"), 53 FR 52563, 52564, state that shop towels are:
always plain woven nonpile construction, made from a coarse fabric, usually an osnaburg or similar low grade fabric, the average yarn number of which usually falls within the 3 to 12 range.....Shop towels may be square or rectangular in shape and usually vary in size from 16 to 30 inches wide and from 16 to 32 inches wide.

The instant towel is woven from a coarse fabric (osnaburg), has a yarn count of between 3 and 12, and measures approximately 17 inches by 17 inches. As such, Customs considers it to be a shop towel, a separate and distinct class of merchandise from kitchen linen and, therefore, not covered by the terms of heading 6302.

Heading 6307, HTSUSA, provides for other made up articles. Subheading 6307.10.2005, HTSUSA, provides for shop towels dedicated for use in garages, filling stations and machine shops. As we stated with regard to subheading 6307.10.20 in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 084799 dated September 6, 1989, at 2:

The above-mentioned subheading is an eo nomine and not an actual use provision. It provides for the class or kind of imported articles belonging to shop towels. Shop towels, provided for in this subheading, are used in, but not limited to use in, garages, filling stations, and machine shops. Because the towels at issue are made of coarse, woven, greige fabric, they have virtually no other use than as shop towels.

Here, while the instant towel will be used for general cleaning purposes and not necessarily, or perhaps at all, in garages, filling stations and machine shops, it is nevertheless the class of merchandise covered by subheading 6307.10.20 and is therefore classifiable accordingly.


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every articles of foreign origin imported into the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Nevertheless, an exception from the marking requirements is authorized by 19 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3)(C), so long as the marking of a container will reasonably indicate the origin of the article enclosed therein. Your client, importer Enterprises, Inc., proposes to mark the bales in which the towels will be imported with the words "Made in Mexico," each bale to contain 2,500 towels. In addition, you have indicated that the towels will be marketed by the importer to purchasers in the aircraft industry. Pursuant to Section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations, 19 CFR 134.1(d), the ultimate purchaser is generally the last person in the United States who will receive merchandise in the form in which it was imported. Provided that the individual bales remain marked until such time as they reach the ultimate purchasers, here purchasers in the aircraft industry, the towels themselves would therefore be exempt from marking. However, should the bales be broken up or repacked before the towels are downstreamed to the ultimate purchasers, the marking scheme you propose would not satisfy the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304, unless subsequent purchasers or transferees are notified in writing of the marking requirements.

When articles are repacked after their release from Customs custody, or if the District Director having custody of the articles has reason to believe that they will be, Section 134.26(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.26(a)), provides in pertinent part that the importer shall certify to the District Director that:

(1) If the importer does the repacking...the new container shall be marked to indicate the country of origin of the article in accordance with the requirements of this part; or (2) if the article is intended to be sold or transferred to a subsequent purchaser or repacker, the importer shall notify such purchaser or transferee, in writing, at the time of sale or transfer, that any repacking must conform to these requirements. The importer, or his authorized agent, shall sign [a] statement [to this effect].


The towel in question is classifiable in subheading 6307.10.2005, HTSUSA, under the provision for other made up articles...floorcloths, dishcloths, dusters and similar cleaning cloths, other, shop towels dedicated for use in garages, filling stations and machine shops, of cotton, and is subject to duty at a rate of 10.5 percent ad valorem. The textile category is 369.

The lettering "Made in Mexico" applied to the imported bales satisfies the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304, provided that the lettering is conspicuous. If the shop towels are repacked after entry but prior to their reaching the ultimate purchasers, the importer shall adhere to the certification requirements of 19 CFR 134.26.

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 internal issuance U.S. of the Customs Service, which 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.


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