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HQ 955473

June 23, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955473 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6302.31.2040; 6304.92.0000

Ms. Jeanne Seymour Long
6 Northway Court
Eastway Business Park
P.O. Box 270
Greer, SC 29652

RE: Classification of pillow sham and flat sheet; Heading 6302; Heading 6304

Dear Ms. Seymour:

This is in response to your inquiry of November 1, 1993, requesting a tariff classification ruling for bed linen under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). This request is on behalf of Sheridan Distributors, Inc. - Carolina Creations Inc., Textile Industries. Samples were submitted for examination.


You refer to the submitted samples as a pillowcase and flat sheet constructed of dyed 100 percent woven cotton material. Customs does not agree with your characterization of the article designed to cover a pillow. Customs believes that the article is a pillow sham. The item exhibits the picture frame effect common in many shams and contains decorative stitching approximately 1 1/2 inches away from all four sides. The flat sheet is hemmed on three sides and is finished on the fourth by a 3 1/2 inch wide capping that is held in place by a single row of decorative stitching.


Whether the merchandise at issue is classifiable as "containing any embroidery"?


Classification of goods under the 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. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

Heading 6302, HTSUSA, provides for bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen. The flat sheet fits squarely within the enumerated categories and therefore, is classifiable under Heading 6302, HTSUSA. In prior cases, Customs has ruled that articles, other than pillowcases (i.e. pillow shams) are classifiable under Heading 6304, HTSUSA, which is the provision for other furnishings. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 087092, dated August 20, 1990; HRL 951903, dated August 21, 1992. Thus, in accordance with prior rulings, the pillow sham is classifiable under Heading 6304, HTSUSA.

The next question Customs must address is the whether the stitching that is located on both the pillow sham and the flat sheet is embroidery that would require it to be classified in the eight-digit subheading that provides for embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping or applique work. This stitching is a series of small decorative loops which is generally produced by hand crochet, embroidery, or machinery. The stitching on the samples appears to have been created by initially punching a hole in the fabric and then holding the hole open with a series of stitches. This type of stitching is very similar to hemstitching. Hemstitching is defined by Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, 6th edition, as an "ornamental decoration achieved by drawing out parallel thread at the inner edges of a hem and drawing together in groups the cross threads by successive stitches." After examining the stitching used on the instant articles, Customs believes that it is a machine imitation of the true hemstitch which is defined in the cited lexicographic source.

Recently in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 955576, dated June 1, 1994, Customs confronted the issue of whether bed linen containing decorative stitches should be classifiable in the eight digit subheading that provided for various embellishments including embroidery. One of the bed sheets therein possessed decorative stitching almost identical to the stitching located on the subject merchandise. Customs explained that "just because the stitch used may be considered a type of embroidery stitch does not mean that its use automatically creates embroidery." HRL 955576 further stated that in determining whether a decorative stitch constitutes embroidery, Customs will refer to three factors. The applicable criteria are as follow:

1. whether the stitching is ornamental,
2. whether the stitching creates or enhances a design or pattern, and
3. whether the stitching is superimposed upon a previously completed fabric or article or is stitching required to create or complete the fabric or article.

Customs further maintains that the third factor focuses on the functionality and primary purpose of the stitching.

In the instant case, the flat sheet contains a stitch that has a decorative effect and is very similar to the true hemstitch used in the construction of the bed linen at issue in HRL 953296. Therefore, the stitching on the flat sheet is considered ornamental. Even though the stitching on the sheet is decorative in nature, the stitching is not sufficiently detailed to form or enhance a pattern or design. The stitching has a fundamental purpose in that it is required to complete both the sheet and the pillow sham. The stitching on the flat sheet is used to attach it to the capping. HRL 955576 states that "the fact that the manufacturer could have used a plainer stitch to hem the sheets is irrelevant. It is the choice of the manufacturer which stitches to use to produce his or her goods. It is not for us to judge the attractiveness of stitching utilized to create a good and decide, if a plainer stitch could have been used, that the choice of a prettier stitch makes it embroidery." Therefore, even though the stitching used on the subject merchandise is ornate, it is not embroidery, and is not classifiable as containing any embroidery.


Based on the foregoing, if the sheet and pillow sham are imported separately, the flat sheet is classifiable in subheading 6302.31.2040, HTSUSA, which provides for woven cotton sheets, not napped. The applicable rate of duty is 7.6 percent ad valorem and textile restraint category is 361. The pillow sham is classifiable in subheading 6304.92.0000. HTSUSA, which provides for other cotton furnishing articles. The applicable rate of duty is 7.2 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 369. If imported as a set, both articles should be classifiable under 6302.31.2040, HTSUSA, as the sheet imparts the essential character of the set. They would each be subject to the separate aforementioned textile restraint categories.

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.he statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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