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HQ 088603

March 1, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088603 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 6302.91.0045

Alan R. Klestadt, Esq.
Robert D. Stang, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, NY 10017

RE: Plain weave, bleached, 100 percent cotton osnaburg towel with a single center stripe is a class or kind of merchandise separate and distinct from shop towels. Kitchen linen; dish towels. NYRL 858305 revoked.

Dear Messrs. Klestadt and Stang:

This is in reply to your letter dated January 28, 1991, on behalf of your client, Vision International, Inc., in which you requested reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter 858305 dated December 18, 1990.


The merchandise at issue is made from 100 percent cotton osnaburg material, measures approximately 29 inches by 35 inches, and is manufactured in and imported from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The article is hemmed on two sides, has a green stripe down the middle, is bleached, and is of plain woven construction. You state the imported article will be used as a general purpose food preparation/kitchen towel in kitchens, restaurants, school cafeterias and similar food service institutions.

In NYRL 858305 the article in question was classified in subheading 6307.10.2005, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), under a provision for shop towels. However, you contend that the article at issue should instead be classified in subheading 6307.10.2030, HTSUSA, or alternatively, in subheading 6307.10.2027, HTSUSA.


Whether the article in question is classifiable in heading 6307, HTSUSA, under a statistical breakout for shop towels, or whether it is classifiable as kitchen linen of heading 6302, HTSUSA.


Articles are classified under the HTSUSA in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that articles are to be classified according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided the headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order.

Heading 6307, HTSUSA, provides for other made up articles (of textiles) that are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI, or elsewhere in the Nomenclature. Subheading 6307.10, HTSUSA, provides for floorcloths, dishcloths, dusters and similar cleaning cloths. Dustcloths, mop cloths and polishing cloths of cotton are specifically provided for in subheading 6307.10.1000, HTSUSA. Other cleaning cloths are classifiable under the residual provision of subheading 6307.10.20, HTSUSA, within which there are statistical breakouts for, inter alia, shop towels and dish cloths, as well as a final residual category.

In NYRL 858305, the article in question, which is made from 100 percent osnaburg fabric, was classified as a shop towel in subheading 6307.10.2005, HTSUSA. Osnaburg fabric is commonly used to make shop towels. Indeed, in Customs' opinion, the use of osnaburg in the manufacture of towels and cloths raises the presumption that a cloth or towel manufactured therefrom is a shop towel. Thus the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories (Textile Guidelines), 53 Fed. Reg. 52563, 52564, state in pertinent part:

Shop towels ... are always plain woven nonpile construction, made from a coarse fabric, usually an osnaburg or a similar low grade fabric, the average yarn number of which normally falls within the 3 to 12 range.

The article at issue is a cloth or towel, is made from a coarse, osnaburg fabric, is of plain woven construction and has a yarn count of 10. Accordingly, it was classified as a shop towel.

Under the HTSUSA, Customs has consistently classified cloths and towels of osnaburg fabric as shop towels. Accordingly, in HRL 083138 dated September 19, 1989, and HRL 083291, also dated September 19, 1989, "dish towels" of unbleached cotton greige osnaburg measuring from 18 by 30 inches to 27 by 36 inches were classified in subheading 6307.10.2005 as shop towels.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 084799 dated September 6, 1989, affirmed by HRL 085571 dated December 7, 1989, we stated with regard to subheading 6307.10.20, HTSUSA, within which shop towels fall:

The above-mentioned subheading is an eo nomine and not an actual use provision. It provides for the class or kind or 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.

Thus in HRL 084799 unbleached greige towels of 55 percent ramie and 45 percent cotton were classified under the provision for shop towels, other.

In contrast, HRL 083446 dated February 23, 1990, concerned three towels of coarse 100 percent cotton woven fabric. Two of the subject towels, measuring 24 by 36 inches and 36 by 36 inches, were bleached white. The third measured 24 by 36 inches and had a print representing cows, horses, pigs, flowers, trees, a house and the expression "Good Morning!" The plain white towels were classified as shop towels in subheading 6307.10.2005, HTSUSA, while the printed towel was classified as a dish towel in subheading 6302.91.0045, HTSUSA. In certain instances, therefore, the presumption that towels made from coarse fabric such as osnaburg is rebuttable, for example, where the towel has design features that suggest something other than a shop towel.

The instant article is distinguishable from shop towels. It is bleached and has a wide stripe down the middle. In addition, the towel measures 29 inches by 35 inches, a size not commonly associated with shop towels which usually range in size from 16 to 30 inches in width to 16 to 32 inches in length. See the Textile Guidelines, 53 Fed. Reg., 52564. Furthermore, you have stated that and provided evidence to the effect that the towel in question will be used primarily in kitchens, restaurants, school cafeterias and similar food service institutions as a food preparation/kitchen towel. Thus Customs considers the article at issue to be a class or kind of merchandise separate and distinct from cleaning cloths of subheading 6307.10, HTSUSA.

Heading 6302, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, kitchen linen. With regard to dish towels, the Textile Guidelines state in pertinent part at 52564:

With one exception, dish towels always have a design printed on them or woven or knit into them. The design may be in the form of pictures of fruit, kitchen utensils, chickens, etc., or may be checks, stripes or similar patterns. The dish towels that usually do not have a design are plain, light weight, plain woven nonpile cotton towels that may be similar to, but readily distinguishable from, shop towels which are made from a much coarser fabric. These towels may be longer than other dish towels.

In view of its size, construction, ornamentation and the manner in which it is used, Customs is of the opinion that the article in question is classifiable as kitchen linen of heading 6302.


The article in question is classifiable in subheading 6302.91.0045, HTSUSA, under the provision for bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen; other; of cotton;; other; towels; other; dish. The towel is dutiable at the rate of 10.5 percent ad valorem and is subject to textile quota category 369.

In order to insure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are revoking NYRL 858305 to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. However, if, after your review, you disagree with the legal basis of our decision, we invite you to submit any arguments you might have with respect to this matter for our review. Any submission you wish to make should be received within thirty days of the date of this letter.

This notice should be considered a revocation of NYRL 858305 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to NYRL 858305 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of your client's merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NYRL 858305 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this revocation, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, your client, may at its discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.

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 of the U.S. 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.


John Durant, Director

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