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HQ 954471

September 16, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954471 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6304.99.3500

K. Harmon
Trade Advisory Group
21839 S. Avalon Blvd., ste. 55
Carson, CA 90745

RE: Classification of a linen napkin and baptismal garment; articles used during religious ceremonies; EN to heading 6304, HTSUSA; not similar to articles of table and kitchen linen of heading 6302, HTSUSA; not classifiable as regalia under heading 9810, HTSUSA; U.S. Note 1 to Subchapter X.

Dear Mr. Harmon:

This is in response to your inquiry of May 26, 1993, on behalf of The Autom Company, in which you requested a binding classification ruling for a linen napkin and baptismal garment to be made in either China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau. Samples of the merchandise at issue were submitted to this office for review and will be returned to you under separate cover.


The samples submitted consist of a napkin and a baptismal garment, both made from 100 percent linen woven fabric. The napkin measures approximately 10 1/4 inches square and features hemmed edges made with hemstitching (a decorative drawnwork). The napkin has an embroidered shell-like design near the center.

The baptismal garment is a bib-like cloth that measures approximately 9 x 10 inches. It is hemmed on all sides and contains the same embroidered design as the napkin. Both the napkin and the baptismal garment are stated to be used during Catholic religious ceremonies.

It is believed that both of these articles are to be used during the ceremony of Baptism. The napkin is used to wipe the hands of the priest or child. The baptismal garment is placed on
the infant, although it is not worn as an article of apparel. It has no means of affixation and does not serve to protect the infant as does a regular bib.


What is the proper classification of the subject merchandise?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 9810, HTSUSA, provides for "[A]rticles imported for the use of an institution established solely for religious purposes." Specifically included within subheading 9810.00.15, HTSUSA, are "regalia... hand-woven fabrics, to be used by the institution in making religious vestments for its own use or sale." U.S. Note 1 to Section X states that "... the articles covered by this subchapter must be exclusively for the use of the institutions involved, and not for distribution, sale or other commercial use within 5 years after being entered." As the articles at issue are intended for commercial use, they do not qualify for classification within this heading of the Nomenclature.

Heading 6302, HTSUSA, provides for "[B]ed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen." While the napkin is similar to articles classifiable as table linen within this heading, one significant difference is that the linen napkin at issue is solely for ceremonial purposes.

Heading 6304, HTSUSA, provides for "[O]ther furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404." The Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 6304 include, "... wall hangings and textile furnishings for ceremonies (e.g. weddings or funerals);... . " As the cloths at issue are used solely in religious services, and serve a ceremonial function, they qualify as "textile furnishings for ceremonies" and are properly classifiable within heading 6304, HTSUSA.

Although heading 6304, HTSUSA, provides for "textile furnishings," the baptismal garment is not precluded from classification within this heading. We note that the term

"garment" is a misnomer when used to refer to this article in that it is not an article of wearing apparel, nor does it serve to protect the wearer as does a traditional bib. The baptismal garment is merely a textile article used exclusively for decorative and ceremonial purposes and therefore classification as a textile furnishing within heading 6304, HTSUSA, is proper.


The linen napkin and baptismal garment are classifiable under subheading 6304.99.3500, HTSUSA, which provides for "[O]ther furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404: Other: Not knitted or crocheted, of other textile materials: Other: Of vegetable fibers (except cotton): Other..., dutiable at a rate of 12.8 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile quota category is 899.

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 your client 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 the 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, your client should contact his 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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