United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0955614 - HQ 0955729 > HQ 0955661

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 955661

June 9, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955661 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 5208.29.6090

John B. Pellegrini
Ross & Hardies
Park Avenue Tower
65 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022-3219

RE: Request for reconsideration of NYRL 891630 of December 7, 1993; classification of woven fabric; Heading 6213; Heading 5208

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

This is in response to your request for reconsideration of NYRL 891630 of December 7, 1993, on behalf of your client, Paris Accessories, Inc., concerning the tariff classification of woven fabric under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted for examination.


The fabric in question is a woven material composed of 100 percent bleached cotton. This material is also woven with a complex weave characterized by a plain woven background and a series of satin woven stripes in both the warp and filling direction. Customs laboratory analysis indicates that the fabric contains 31.2 single yarns per centimeter in the warp and 28.1 single yarns per centimeter in the filling. The fabric weighs 100.5 g/m2 and based on the data developed by the laboratory, the average yarn number for this product has been calculated to 59 in the metric system.

In the initial inquiry, you asserted that the subject merchandise was classifiable as handkerchiefs in subheading 6213.20.2000, HTSUSA, while the Area Director of New York determined that the merchandise was classifiable as woven cotton fabric in subheading 5208.29.6090, HTSUSA.


Whether the instant merchandise is classifiable as woven fabric under Heading 5208, HTSUSA, or classifiable as a handkerchief under Heading 6213, HTSUSA?


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.

The merchandise is potentially classifiable in two distinct headings. These competing headings are Headings 6213 and 5208, HTSUSA. You contend that the proper heading for the subject merchandise is Heading 6213, HTSUSA, which provides for handkerchiefs. You further assert that "the weave of the fabric, the presence of the satin stripes, and in particular its narrow width dedicates the imported merchandise to use as handkerchiefs. * * * Inasmuch as the imported merchandise provides the essential character of the finished handkerchiefs, the fabric is dedicated to a particular use, the manufacture of handkerchiefs, and because the imported merchandise is recognizable as unfinished handkerchiefs, it is classified in the provision for handkerchiefs."

This contention is premised on the merchandise being classified in accordance with GRI 2(a). GRI 2(a) provides, in relevant part:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. * * *

It is Customs view, however, that the subject merchandise can be properly classified in accordance with GRI 1 and the applicable legal and chapter notes, and resort to GRI 2(a) is unnecessary.

Note 1 to Chapter 62 states the following:

This chapter applies only to made up articles of any textile fabric other than wadding, excluding knitted or crocheted articles (other than those of heading 6212). [enphasis added]

The term made up is defined in Note 7 to Section XI, HTSUSA, as:

(a) Cut otherwise than into squares or rectangles;

(b) Produced in the finished state, ready for use (or merely needing separation by cutting dividing threads) without sewing or other working (for example, certain dusters, towels, tablecloths, scarf squares, blankets);

(c) Hemmed or with rolled edges, or with a knotted fringe at any of the edges, but excluding fabrics the cut edges of which have been prevented from unravelling by whipping or by other simple means;

(d) Cut to size and having undergone a process of drawn thread work;

(e) Assembled by sewing, gumming or otherwise (other than piece goods consisting of two or more lengths of identical material joined end to end and piece goods composed of two or more textiles assembled in layers, whether or not padded); or

(f) Knitted or crocheted to shape, presented in the form of a number of items in the lengths.

When examining the instant article in light of Note 7 to Section XI, HTSUSA, it appears that it does not meet any of the criteria listed to be considered "made up" for tariff classification purposes. As the merchandise is not made up, it is excluded from classification in Chapter 62, HTSUSA. Thus, it is not classifiable under Heading 6213, HTSUSA, as a handkerchief.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, (EN), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. To further substantiate Customs belief that the subject merchandise is not classifiable under Heading 6213, HTSUSA, we consulted the EN to Heading 6213, HTSUSA, which state, in pertinent part:

The heading also includes fabric in the piece consisting of a number of squares having the character of handkerchiefs or scarves woven together and which, by simply cutting along defined lines (indicated by the absence of warp or weft threads), can be converted into separate fringed articles suitable for use as handkerchiefs or scarves without further operation.

Similarly fabric which, in addition to being simply cut to the required size and shape, has been subjected to a process of "drawn-thread work" giving the unfinished article the character of a handkerchief or scarf is classified in this heading.

The Fashion Dictionary, by Mary Brooks Picken (1973), at page 109, defines drawn work, which is synonymous with "drawn-thread work", as "open work made by pulling out threads of the fabric and embroidering or hemstitching the edges to form decoration." The instant fabric has not been cut to the size or shape of a finished handkerchief and it does not contain any open work. Moreover, the fabric possesses no defined lines for cutting that would indicate that it could be converted into a separate fringed handkerchief without further processing. As a result of the foregoing, the subject fabric fails to meet the required processing necessary to give it the character of a handkerchief.

Despite the fact that the tariff classification of the merchandise at issue can be based on GRI 1 and the applicable legal and chapter notes, you have submitted lengthy oral and written statements as to why the merchandise is classifiable as a handkerchief in accordance with GRI 2(a). Therefore, even though reliance on GRI 2(a) is not dispositive, Customs believes that in order to wholly address your request for reconsideration, it should specifically address the tariff classification in conjunction with GRI 2(a).

The EN to GRI 2(a) states the following, in pertinent part:

(I) The first part of Rule 2(a) extends the scope of any heading which refers to a particular article to cover not only the complete article but also that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as presented, it has the essential character of the complete or finished article.

(II) The provisions of this Rule also apply to blanks unless these are specified in a particular heading. The term "blank" means an article, not ready for direct use, having the approximate shape or outline of the finished article or part, and which can only be used, other than in exceptional cases, for completion into the finished article or part.

The subject merchandise cannot be considered an incomplete article in compliance with GRI 2(a), since in its present condition, it does not have the essential character of a handkerchief. When examining the fabric, Customs cannot perceive a handkerchief emerging from the material. There are no lines of demarcation, cutting lines, or hemmed edges. To substantiate your claim that the merchandise is classifiable as an unfinished handkerchief in Heading 6213, HTSUSA, you maintain the following:

The weave of the fabric, the presence of the satin stripes, and, in particular its narrow width dedicates the imported merchandise to use as handkerchiefs. In its imported condition, the merchandise has no other practical, commercial use. Its narrow width means that fabric can not be used to make lingerie, shirts or other garments, napkins (the satin stripes permit only very small napkins), tablecloths (the satin stripes describe an area too small for a tablecloth), placemats or other linens.

The weave of the fabric, the satin stripes, and the narrow width does not prevent the fabric from being manufactured into finished articles, other than a handkerchief. The fabric could easily be utilized to construct items, such as place mats. Moreover, the weight and the weave pattern of the fabric makes it suitable for the construction of various types of lightweight garments.


Based on the foregoing, the merchandise at issue in NYRL 891630 was properly classified in subheading 5208.29.6090, HTSUSA, which provides for woven bleached fabrics of cotton, containing 85 percent or more by weight of cotton, weighing not more than 200 g/m2. The rate of duty is 10.2 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 220.

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 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

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: