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HQ 953486

October 6, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953486 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6302.51.40000; 6302.52.2000; 6304.91.0020; 6304.92.0000;

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
4735 Oakland Street
P.O. Box 390335
Denver, CO 80239-0335

RE: Internal Advice Request; lace and non-lace doilies; table linen of heading 6302, HTSUSA v. other furnishings of heading 6304, HTSUSA; EN to heading 6302, HTSUSA; HRL 950530 (12/17/91); HRL 086701 (10/31/90); HRL 086761 (6/26/90); HRL 950129 (12/16/91); HRL 950368 (12/5/91); NYRL 886899 (6/8/93); lace doilies are not table linen.

Dear Sir:

This ruling is in response to a request for internal advice initiated by the law firm of Stein Shostak Shostak & O'Hara on behalf of their client, Lin Lyn Trading Ltd. At issue is the proper classification of lace and non-lace doilies. Samples were sent to this office for examination.


The textile doilies at issue, representative samples and photographs of which are referenced Exhibit 1 in your submission, are made of 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and linen. They are imported in various shapes (round, oval, heart, bell, star and square) and they range in size from six to twelve inches in diameter. Photocopies of catalogue pages show miniature doilies that measure two to three inches in diameter. The samples labeled 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E are made from woven fabric and are decorated with embroidery, cutwork or lacet lace edging. Sample 1F is made from crocheted lace and 1G is made from lacet lace (also known as renaissance or battenberg lace).


Whether the non-lace doilies at issue are classifiable under heading 6302, HTSUSA, as table linen or under heading 6304, HTSUSA, as other furnishing articles?

Whether lace doilies are precluded from classification under heading 6302, HTSUSA?


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.

The threshhold issue is whether the non-lace doilies submitted to this office, referenced styles 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E, are properly classifiable as table linen within heading 6302, HTSUSA, or as other furnishings within heading 6304, HTSUSA. Heading 6302, HTSUSA, provides for bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen. Explanatory Note (EN) 2 to heading 6302, page 863, describes table linen as encompassing "table cloths, table mats and runners, tray cloths, table centres, serviettes, tea napkins, sachets for serviettes, doilies and drip mats" [emphasis added].

The express inclusion of "doilies" within the EN to heading 6302 notwithstanding, our second inquiry is whether doilies are, in fact, articles of table linen, or whether they are primarily used to decorate and protect furniture in which case they would be classifiable as "other furnishing articles" of heading 6304, HTSUSA. This office consulted several lexicographic sources in an effort to establish the common definition of the word "doily." Nearly every dictionary defined "doily" as both an article of table linen (i.e., a small napkin) or as a home furnishing article (used under vases, lamps and center pieces for protection or on tables, chairs and sofas as decoration). In The Butterick Fabric Handbook - A Consumer's Guide to Fabrics for Clothing and Home Furnishings, (1975), doily was defined as "a piece of fabric, round or square or rectangular in shape, which is used under plants and decorative objects partly to protect furniture surfaces and partly as decoration." In The Modern Textile & Apparel Dictionary, 4th Ed. (1973), however, doily was defined as "a small, matlike napkin for use under dishes on a table." In Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, doily is defined both as "a small decorative piece of linen, lace, etc., or a small napkin used for table service, under center piece, etc., to protect the surface of the furniture. Named for London merchant who introduced this fabric as linen napery during the years 1707- 1714."

A reading of the above definitons indicates that doilies are used both as table linen and as home furnishing articles. Although both headings 6302 and 6304 potentially govern the classification of the subject merchandise, it is only the EN to heading 6302 which specifically provide for "doilies". Accordingly, the non-lace doilies at issue, referenced styles 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E, are classifiable within heading 6302, HTSUSA, as this heading provides more specifically for the articles at issue than does heading 6304, HTSUSA. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 950530, dated December 17, 1991, in which this office held that "doilies, if not constructed from a fine decorative fabric unsuitable for use while dining, [are] ... properly classifiable as table linen."

The final issue is whether lace doilies are classifiable within heading 6302, HTSUSA. The EN to heading 6302 state that the articles of this provision are "normally of a kind suitable for laundering." The EN further provide that "certain articles of the above descriptions, (e.g., table centres made from lace, velvet or brocaded materials) are not regarded as articles of table linen; they are usually classified in heading 6304" [emphasis added]. The exclusion of certain articles made of fine or delicate fabrics from heading 6302, HTSUSA, is based on the recognized fact that table linen is designed to protect diner and table from heat and the spillage of food and beverages. See HRL 950530. Obviously, fabrics which are not washable, fabrics which would not withstand the rigors of repeated washings, or fabrics which are so loosely crocheted or woven that they do not serve to protect diner and/or table, are not suitable for use as table linen. These sort of articles are deemed predominantly decorative in nature and are more appropriately classifiable as "other furnishing articles" within heading 6304, HTSUSA.

We further note that the exclusionary language in the EN is not limited to table centers of lace, velvet or brocade; table centers made from these fabrics are merely cited as an example of the sort of ornamental article that is not suited for use as table linen. Any of the aformentioned exemplars of heading 6302, HTSUSA, if made of lace, velvet, brocade or any fine or delicate material, may be deemed more appropriately classifiable in heading 6304, HTSUSA, if the article is deemed impractical for use as table linen. In essence, Customs' position is that if the article is made of a fine or delicate fabric which is not suitable for repeated laundering, which would not withstand the wear and tear associated with dining (i.e., heat, moisture, spillage, stains), or which would not provide the coverage necessary to protect table and/or diner (i.e., loosely crocheted or woven articles or those measuring only two to three inches in diameter), the article is considered decorative in nature and
classifiable as an other furnishing article of heading 6304, HTSUSA. See HRL 086701, dated October 31, 1990.

It is on this basis that we consider style 1F and 1G, doilies made from crocheted lace and lacet lace respectively, to be unsuitable for use as table linen. These two styles are excluded from classification within heading 6302, as per EN (2), and are classifiable as other furnishing articles in heading 6304, HTSUSA.

As no samples of the miniature doilies shown in the catalogue submitted to this office were provided for Customs' examination, they are not deemed part of the request for internal advice. Even without samples, however, it is apparent that these miniature doilies are not suitable for use as table linen due to their small size (approximately 2 to 3 inches in diameter). Customs has previously held that miniature doilies are classifiable under heading 5810, HTSUSA, which provides for "embroidery in the piece, in strips or in motifs." See New York Ruling Letter 886899, dated June 8, 1993, issued to Lin Lyn Trading Ltd. Customs has also classified miniature hats made from starched lace doilies under heading 6304, HTSUSA, as decorative articles. See HRL's 950129, dated December 16, 1991; 950368, dated December 5, 1991.

We also recognize that the doilies currently under review are distinguishable from the felt coasters the subject of HRL 086761, dated June 26, 1990. In that ruling, decorative felt coasters used under drinks to protect furniture were classified as other furnishing articles under heading 6304, HTSUSA. That ruling erroneously referred to the felt coasters as "doilies"; in fact, the coasters were thick pieces of opaque felt glued together in a decorative pattern which in no way resembled a doily. While the holding in HRL 086761 is correct, that ruling should not have used the term "doily" and "coaster" interchangeably.


In counsel's submission to Customs, specific fabric content information was only provided for Style 1B (55% linen/45% cotton), Style 1D (100% cotton), Style 1F (100% cotton) and Style 1G (100% cotton). The remainder of the samples are described as made from cotton or a cotton and linen blend. Accordingly, classification is as follows:

* Style 1B is classifiable under subheading 6302.52.2000, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, "other table linen: of flax: other...", dutiable at 6.2 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile quota category is 899;

* Style 1D is classifiable under subheading 6302.51.4000, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, "other table linen: of cotton: other...", dutiable at 7.2 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile quota category is 369.

* Styles 1A, 1C and 1E, if predominantly cotton, are classifiable under subheading 6302.51.4000, HTSUSA. If predominantly linen, they are classifiable under subheading 6302.52.2000, HTSUSA. The respective rates of duty and applicable textile quota categories are set forth above.

* Style 1F is classifiable under subheading 6304.91.0020, HTSUSA, which provides for "other furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404: other: knitted or crocheted... of cotton...", dutiable at 11.5 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile quota category is 369.

* Style 1G is classifiable under subheading 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for "other furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404: other: not knitted or crocheted, of cotton...", dutiable at 7.2 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile quota category is 369.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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