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HQ 958338

February 26, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 958338 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 5703.90.0000

Purificacion Abustan
Homemaker Industries
295 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-7186

RE: Modification of DD 812833, dated July 21, 1995; Heading 5703; Heading 5702; Classification of tufted rug

Dear Ms. Abustan:

This is regarding District Ruling Letter (DD) 812833 issued to you by the Port Director at the Port of New Orleans July 21, 1995. After reviewing this ruling, Customs Headquarters believes that it was in error. DD 812833 classified a carpet in subheading 5702.49.1080 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which is the provision for carpets and other floor coverings, woven pile carpet of cotton, not tufted or flocked. Customs Headquarters believes that the article is properly classifiable in subheading 5703.90.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for carpets and other textile floor coverings, tufted, whether or not made up, of other textile materials and DD 812833 should be modified to reflect the correct tariff classification. Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)) as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057), notice of the proposed modification of DD 812833 was published on January 17, 1996, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 30, Number 3.


The article at issue is a hand tufted cotton rug produced in India. The rug, Style Corsica, is constructed from cotton yarns which have been hand tufted into a pre-existing woven base fabric. The tufts are sheared. The warp yarns of the base fabric extend beyond the edge of the rug to form a hand knotted fringe. There are sections in the rug that have not been tufted and the base fabric is visible.


Whether the subject rug is considered "tufted" for tariff classification purposes and is classifiable under Heading 5703, 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.

Heading 5703, HTSUSA, is the provision for carpets and other textile floor coverings, woven, not tufted or flocked, whether or not made up, including "Kelem", "Schumacks", "Karamanie" and similar hand-woven rugs. 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. The EN to Heading 5703, states the following, in pertinent part:

This heading covers tufted carpets and other tufted textile floor coverings produced on tufting machines which, by means of a system of needles and hooks, insert textile yarn into a pre-existing backing (usually a woven fabric or a nonwoven) thus producing loops, or if the needles and hooks are combined with a cutting device, tufts. The yarns forming the pile are then normally fixed by a coating of rubber or plastics. Usually before the coating is allowed to dry it is either covered by a secondary backing of loosely woven textile material, e.g., jute, or by foamed rubber.

In DD 812833, the subject rug was classified under subheading 5702.49.1080, HTSUSA, the provision for carpets and other woven floor coverings that are not tufted. DD 812833 states that the subject merchandise is hand tufted which does not meet the definition of "tufted" as used in the EN to Heading 5703 which specifically discusses tufts that are produced on tufting machines. The EN to Heading 5703, HTSUSA, define "tufted" as the inserting of yarns into a pre-existing backing. In this case, cotton yarns have been hand tufted into a pre-existing woven base fabric. Even though the EN specifically refers to machine tufting, it is Customs opinion that the EN was not intended to exclude rugs that had been tufted by hand. Therefore, the subject rug is properly classifiable under Heading 5703, HTSUSA.


Based on the foregoing, the subject rug is classifiable in subheading 5703.90.0000, HTSUSA, which is the provision for carpets and other textile floor coverings, tufted, whether or note made up: of other textile materials. The applicable rate of duty is 7.2 percent ad valorem and there is no textile restraint category.

DD 812833 is hereby modified.

In accordance with section 625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification

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