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HQ 088130

March 2, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088130 JS


TARIFF NO.: 5702.49.1090

Ms. Jean D. Duncan
Jean D. Duncan Customs Brokers, Inc.
P.O. Box 20696/ Atlanta Airport
Atlanta, GA 30320

RE: Modification of NYRL 855712; Classification of Cotton Terry Bath Mat as Floor Covering of Heading 6304 Modified

Dear Ms. Duncan:

New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 855712 issued to you September 6, 1990, on behalf of Amtex International Corp., classified a cotton terry bath mat under heading 6304, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Upon further review, that ruling is determined to be in error.


The merchandise at issue is a 100 percent cotton bath mat with a terry pile construction. It measures approximately 20 x 31 inches, and has sewn edges. There is a flat woven stripe design in the center of the mat which criss-crosses the corners. NYRL 855712 states that "[t]his bath mat is used on the floor while bathing, then draped over the tub when finished..."


Whether classification of a terry bath mat is proper under heading 5702 (floor coverings) or heading 6304 (other furnishing articles) of the HTSUSA.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings, and any relevant section or chapter notes.

Heading 5702, HTSUSA, provides for woven textile floor coverings. Chapter Note 1 states that

For the purposes of this chapter, the term "carpets and other floor coverings" means floor coverings in which textile materials serve as the exposed surface of the article when in use and includes articles having the characteristics of textile floor coverings but intended for use for other purposes.

The Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, add that the textile floor coverings of this chapter include terry toweling or similar bath mats (EN 57.02 [5]). The facts clearly indicate that this item is a bath mat and that it is constructed in the manner typical of bath mats (rectangularly shaped and of terry pile). Since bath mats are included in this heading by the Explanatory Notes, and there is no indication that such mats must be disqualified as floor covering if they are draped over a tub to dry, classification within this heading is required. Moreover, the term "when in use" in the Chapter Note above, suggests that at least some of the floor coverings included are of a kind which may be rolled or hung when not in use, thereby concealing its textile surface.

Heading 6304 provides for other furnishing articles, a basket category. In accordance with GRI 2(a), however, the floor coverings contemplated by the heading above more specifically describe the present article, and must therefore prevail for purposes of classification.


The merchandise at issue is classified under subheading 5702.49.1090, HTSUSA, which provides for carpets and other textile floor coverings, woven, not tufted or flocked, whether or not made up, including "Kelem", "Schumacks", "Karamanie" and similar handwoven rugs: other, of pile construction, made up: of other textile materials: of cotton, other, textile category 369, dutiable at the rate of 4.2 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 agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that your client 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, your client should contact its local Customs Office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.

In order to insure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are modifying NYRL 855712 to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. However, if you disagree with the legal basis for our decision, we invite you to submit, on behalf of your client, any arguments you might have with respect to this matter for our review. Any submission you wish to make should be received within 30 days of the date of this letter.

NYRL 855712 is modified accordingly pursuant to 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1) (1989). This modification is not to be applied retroactively to NYRL 855712 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2) (1989)) and will not, therefore, affect the transaction for importation of your client's merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, including that for which the present classification is requested, NYRL 855712 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importation arriving at a port subsequent to the release of NYRL 855712 will be classified under this ruling. In the event that this occurs, your client may, at its discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of the new ruling as may be dictated by the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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