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HQ 950786

January 28, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950786 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 5603.00.9090

Robert E. Burke, Esq.
Kazumune V. Kano, Esq.
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
200 East Randolph Drive
Suite 7920
Chicago, Illinois 60601

RE: Cleaning cloth; nonwovens; made up articles; Note 7, Section XI, HTSUSA; HRL 085384.

Dear Mr. Burke:

This is in response to your letter dated November 25, 1991, on behalf of Shima American Corporation, in which you requested a tariff classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise in question is a rectangular cleaning cloth made from a synthetic nonwoven fabric (vinylon) impregnated with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). The fabric comprises 65 percent of the weight of the finished cloth, the coating 35 percent. The cloth is then treated with a moistening agent and sealed in an airtight plastic package. The cloth is manufactured in Japan.


The issue presented is whether the merchandise in question is classifiable as a nonwoven of heading 5603, HTSUSA, or whether it is made up within the meaning of Note 7, Section XI, HTSUSA, such that it is classifiable in heading 6307, HTSUSA.


Heading 6307, HTSUSA, is a residual provision covering other made up textile articles that are not more specifically included elsewhere in Section XI, HTSUSA. Note 7(b), Section XI, defines the expression "made up" to include goods produced in a finished state, ready for use. The article in question is a cloth made from nonwoven material and coated with PVA, which in combination with the vinylon material, acts as an absorbing agent. The cloth is then treated with a moistening agent and packed in an airtight plastic package. Customs has considered similar articles to be "made up" within the meaning of Note 7(b). E.g., Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 085384 dated October 20, 1989.

Nevertheless, the Explanatory Notes (EN), which although not legally binding, constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (four and six digits), impose constraints on the type of goods which may be considered produced in the finished state, at General Explanatory Note II(2), Section XI:

[P]roducts knitted or crocheted directly to shape and certain dusters, towels, table cloths, scarf squares, blankets, etc., with threads along the warp left unwoven or the weft edges cut to form a fringe. Such articles may have been woven separately on the loom, but may also have been simply cut from lengths of fabric which have bands of unwoven threads (generally warp threads) at regular intervals. These lengths of fabric, from which ready-made articles of the types described above may be obtained simply by cutting the dividing threads, are also considered as "made up" articles.

However, rectangular (including square) articles simply cut out from larger pieces without other working and not incorporating fringes formed by cutting dividing threads are not regarded as "produced in the finished state" within the meaning of this Note. The fact that these articles may be presented folded or put up in packings (e.g., for retail sale) does not affect their classification.

The instant cleaning cloth is cut from a larger piece of nonwoven fabric without other working. Consequently, Customs does not consider the cloth to be "made up" within the meaning of Note 7(b), Section XI.

Heading 5603, HTSUSA, provides for nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated. The cleaning cloth at issue is made from nonwoven fabric. It is not a made up article of heading 6307. The Explanatory Notes provide in relevant part at EN 56.03 that:

Except where they are covered more specifically by other headings in the Nomenclature...heading [5603] covers nonwovens in the piece, cut to length or simply cut to rectangular (including square) without other working, whether or not presented folded or put up in packings (e.g., for retail sale)....

Accordingly, the cleaning cloth in question is classifiable as a nonwoven. HRL 085384 will be revoked in conformity with the foregoing.


The cleaning cloth in question is classifiable in subheading 5603.00.9090, HTSUSA, under the provision for nonwovens, whether or not impregnated, coated, covered or laminated; other; other; other; of staple fibers. It is dutiable at the rate of 12.5 percent ad valorem and is subject to textile category 223.

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.


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