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HQ 952225

December 8, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952225 SK


TARIFF NO.'s: 6302.21.2030; 6302.21.2040

Kenneth R. Paley
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. 67 Broad Street
New York, N.Y. 10004

RE: Classification of napped and unnapped bedding sets; 6302.21.2030; 6302.21.2040; GRI 3(c); country of origin; 19 CFR 12.130; ornamented flat sheets undergo cutting and sewing processes that constitute a substantial manufacturing operation; fitted sheet also undergoes a substantial processing operation in Thailand.

Dear Mr. Paley:

This is in response to your inquiry of July 9, 1992, on behalf of your client, Haywin Textile Products, Inc., requesting the tariff classification and country of origin status of four sets of bed linen. Samples were submitted to this office for examination and will be returned to you under separate cover.


The subject merchandise consists of various sets of woven sheets and pillow cases that will be imported into the United States from Thailand. The sets are packaged as follows:

1) One pillowcase, one twin-size fitted sheet, and one twin- size flat sheet of 100 percent cotton, napped;

2) Two pillow cases, one full-, queen-, or king-size fitted sheet, and one matching size flat sheet of 100 percent cotton, napped;

3) One pillow case, one twin-size fitted sheet, and one twin- size flat sheet of 70 percent cotton/ 30 percent polyester, not napped; and

4) Two pillow cases, one full-, queen-, or king-size fitted sheet, and one matching size flat sheet of 70 percent cotton/ 30 percent polyester, not napped.

Each flat sheet has either a double ruffle or piping along the top edge. The other items of each set will contain no embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping or applique work.

The subject merchandise is manufactured and printed in one country and then shipped to Thailand in rolled stock form. In Thailand, the printed fabric will be cut to both length and width, and sewn into sheets. The printed fabric which remains from the cutting operations for the sheets will be used to produce the ruffles for the flat sheets, or the additional panels of fabric for the flat sheets with piping.

The flat sheets will be hemmed at both the top and bottom edges, and side stitching may be required. For those sheets with ruffles, the printed fabric for the ruffles will be cut to size, pleated, and sewn in two layers along the edges of the flat sheets. For the sheets with piping, rolls of piping produced in Thailand will be sized and cut and then sewn to the sheets along the outside top edge.

With regard to the fitted sheets, once they are cut to length and width, they will be stitched on both sides. Pockets will then be cut and formed at all four corners of the sheet. An elastic tape will then be sewn in and the pocket will be stitched closed.

The pillow cases will be produced in Thailand by cutting the fabric to size, folding it, stitching it across the top and bottom, and hemming it on three sides, including the open side which will require hemming on both ends.


1) What is the classification of the subject merchandise?

2) What is the country of origin of the subject merchandise?



Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in
order. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's.

Heading 6302, HTSUSA, provides for bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level and define bed linen to include sheets, pillow cases, bolster cases, eiderdown cases, and mattress covers.

As the instant merchandise is comprised of sheets and pillow cases, it is prima facie provided for in heading 6302, HTSUSA. Our analysis now turns on whether the subject merchandise is classified as bed linen "containing any embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping or applique work" or bed linen without such adornment. The flat sheets in each of the submitted samples feature either a two-layered, pleated ruffle or a strip of contrasting colored piping near the top edge of the sheet. The pillow cases and the flat sheets in all the sets are without ruffles or piping. A determination must be made as to whether classification will be based on the flat sheets with ruffles and piping under subheading 6302.21.10, HTSUSA, or on the unadorned components of the bed linen set under subheading 6302.21.20, HTSUSA. Since neither of the two subheadings under consideration, when read in conjunction with the pertinent legal notes, cover all the component in the sets, GRI 3 provides the relevant analysis, as per GRI 6.

When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be affected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description.
However, when two or more headings each refer to part only ... of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

As noted supra, classification of the subject merchandise is possible under two subheadings in the Nomenclature, and GRI 3(b) applies as follows:

(b) ... goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall
be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states that:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In the instant case, it is impossible to determine which component in these sets imparts the essential character as all the articles in the set play an equal role in the sets' function of dressing a bed. While the flat sheets are larger than the fitted sheets, and are slightly more decorative because of the use of ruffles and piping, the fitted sheets require a more substantial sewing operation and require that elastic be sewn around their edges to ensure a snug fit. Similarly, the pillow cases fulfill a unique function and require a more detailed sewing operation than do the flat sheets. Consequently, it is this office's opinion that reasonable persons may differ as to which component imparts the essential character to these sets and therefore GRI 3(c) governs classification.

GRI 3(c) sets forth that when goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the subheading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. Accordingly, the articles at issue are properly classified under heading 6302.21.20 of the HTSUSA as that is the heading which occurs last in numerical order as between the relevant subheadings set forth above.


Section 12.130 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130) is applicable to the merchandise at issue. Section 12.130(b) of the Customs Regulations provides that a textile product that is processed in more than one country or territory shall be a product of that country or territory where it last underwent a substantial transformation. A textile product will be considered to have undergone a substantial transformation if it has been transformed by means of substantial manufacturing or processing operations into a new and different article of commerce.

Section 12.130(d) of the Customs Regulations sets forth criteria in determining whether a substantial transformation of a textile product has taken place. This regulation states that
these criteria are not exhaustive; one or any combination of criteria may be determinative, and additional factors may be considered.

Section 12.130(d)(1) states that a new and different article of commerce will usually result from a manufacturing or processing operation if there is a change in:

(i) Commercial designation or identity;
(ii) Fundamental character;
(iii) Commercial use.

Section 12.130(d)(2) of the Customs Regulations states that in determining whether merchandise has been subjected to substantial manufacturing or processing operations, the following will be considered:

(i) The physical change in the material or article;

(ii) The time involved in the manufacturing or processing;

(iii) The complexity of the manufacturing or processing;

(iv) The level or degree of skill and/or technology required in the manufacturing or processing operations;

(v) The value added to the article or material;

Section 12.130(e)(1) provides that an article or material usually will be a product of a particular foreign territory or country, or insular possession of the United States, when, prior to importation into the United States, it has undergone in that foreign territory or country or insular possession, any of the following:

(v) substantial assembly by sewing and/or tailoring of all cut pieces ...

Customs has consistently determined that the sewing operations entailed in making fitted sheets and pillow cases is substantial enough so as to make the country where this operation takes place the country of origin. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 086523, dated April 25, 1990, HRL 733180, dated December 13, 1990 and HRL 733269, dated April 30, 1991. In these cases Customs ruled that the country of origin of pillow cases and fitted sheets were the countries from which the finished products emerged (i.e., where they were sewn). With regard to flat sheets, generally Customs has regarded the cutting and hemming operations used in their manufacture to be relatively limited in complexity and duration and therefore not a

"substantial manufacturing process". In the instant case, however, the flat sheets have ruffles and piping sewn to their top edges and this adornment requires an extra manufacturing step that is commensurate in degree of skill and amount of time to that required in the manufacture of fitted sheets and pillow cases. (Note, that while the affixation of the ruffles and piping to the flat sheets qualifies as a substantial manufacturing process, the resulting adornment is not elaborate enough so that the flat sheet imparts the essential character to the bedding set).


The two sets of bed linen which are constructed from napped fabric are classifiable under subheading 6302.21.2030, HTSUSA, which provides for "bed linen ...: other bed linen, printed: of cotton, napped", dutiable at a rate of 7.6 percent ad valorem. The unnapped sets of bed linen are classifiable under subheading 6302.21.2040, HTSUSA, dutiable at rate of 7.6 percent ad valorem. Although classified as sets, the individual components are subject to textile category numbers as if they were classified separately. Accordingly, the pillow cases are subject to visa requirements under textile quota category 360, and the sheets are subject to visa requirements under textile quota category 361.

The designated textile and apparel categories 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 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.

The country of origin for the merchandise at issue is Thailand.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in section 177.9(b)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9(b)(1). This
section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all the information furnished in connection with the ruling request and incorporated in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. Should it subsequently be determined that the information furnished is not complete and does not comply with 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1), the ruling will be subject to modification or revocation. In the event there is a change in the facts previously furnished, this may affect the determination of country of origin. Accordingly, it is recommended that a new ruling request be submitted in accordance with section 177.2, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.2).


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