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HQ 953938

May 27, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953938 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 6302.91.0045

Calderon Textiles
23 West Henry Street
Indianapolis, IN 46225-1119

RE: 100% cotton osnaburg flour sack towels; shop towels; dish towels; kitchen linen; headings 6302 and 6307; Explanatory Notes to heading 6302; Textile Guidelines; HRLs 083138, 083291, 087471, 088603

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your letter, dated March 19, 1993, to our Cleveland office, in which you requested the tariff classification of osnaburg flour sack towels, imported from Pakistan, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). A sample of the towel was submitted for our examination.


The article at issue is a towel made of 100% cotton osnaburg fabric and it measures 27 inches by 38 inches. The towel is hemmed on two sides, has a green stripe down the middle, is bleached and is of plain woven construction. You state that the towels will be sold to textile rental companies which will rent them out to various establishments, including restaurants, bars, and car washes. These establishments would use the towels as general purpose food preparation/kitchen towels and as cleaning articles.


Is the subject osnaburg flour sack towel classified as a shop towel in subheading 6307.10.2005, HTSUS, or as a dish towel in subheading 6302.91.0045, HTSUS?


The classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by 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. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

Heading 6302, HTSUS, provides for "[b]ed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen." The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes to heading 6302, state, on page 863, that included in this heading is:

(4) Kitchen linen such as tea towels and glass cloths. Articles such as floor cloths, dish cloths, scouring cloths, dusters and similar cleaning cloths, generally made of course thick material, are not regarded as falling within the description "kitchen linen" and are excluded (heading 63.07).

Heading 6307, HTSUS, provides for "[o]ther made up articles, including dress patterns." It is a residual provision which provides for other made up articles of textiles that are not provided for more specifically elsewhere in the nomenclature. Subheading 6307.10, HTSUS, provides for "[f]loorcloths, dishcloths, dusters and similar cleaning cloths." Other cleaning cloths are classifiable in subheading 6307.10.20, HTSUS, within which there are statistical breakouts for shop towels and dish cloths.

Osnaburg fabric is commonly used to make shop towels. Customs has issued several rulings classifying cloths and towels of osnaburg fabric as shop towels in heading 6307, HTSUS. See, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 083138 dated September 19, 1989; HRL 083291, also dated September 19, 1989; and HRL 087471, dated September 21, 1990. Moreover, in HRL 088603, dated March 1, 1991, we stated that the use of osnaburg in the manufacture of towels and cloths raises the presumption that a cloth or towel manufactured therefrom is a shop towel. Thus, the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories (Textile Guidelines), 53 Fed. Reg. 52563, 52564, state that "[s]hop towels are...always plain woven nonpile construction, made from a coarse fabric, usually an osnaburg or a similar low grade fabric, the average yarn number of which normally falls within the 3 to 12." range.

However, in HRL 088603, we determined that the presumption that towels made from coarse fabric, such as osnaburg, is rebuttable where the towel has design features that suggest something other than a shop towel. For example, in HRL 088603 Customs classified a towel that was made of 100% cotton osnaburg material in heading 6302, HTSUS, as it was distinguishable from shop towels based on its size, construction, ornamentation and the manner in which it is used. This towel measured approximately 29-1/4 inches by 35-1/2 inches, a size not commonly associated with shop towels which usually range in size from 16 to 30 inches in width to 16 to 32 inches in length. See, Textile Guidelines, 53 Fed. Reg. 52564. The towel was hemmed on two sides had a green strip down the middle, was bleached and was of plain woven construction. In addition, the towel was used as a general purpose food preparation/kitchen towel in kitchens, restaurants and school cafeterias.

The towel at issue in the instant case is very similar to the towel Customs classified in HRL 088603. The size of this towel is not commonly associated with shop towels, it is also bleached and has a green strip running down its middle. In addition, it will be used in a similar manner as the towel in HRL 088603. Therefore, Customs considers the subject towel to be a class or kind of merchandise separate and distinct from shop towels. Thus, this towel is classified in heading 6302, HTSUS. Specifically, it is classified in subheading 6302.91.0045, HTSUS.


The osnaburg flour sack towel is classified in subheading 6302.91.0045, HTSUS, which provides for "[b]ed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen: [o]ther: [o]f cotton: [o]ther: [t]owels: [o]ther: [d]ish." The rate of duty is 10.5% ad valorem and the applicable textile category is 369.

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 the importer 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 changeable 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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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