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December 10, 1996

HQ 959277

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959277 RH


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9989

Thomas H. Botini, Esq.
Armstrong, Teasdale, Schlafly & Davis
One Metropolitan Square, Suite 2600
St. Louis, MO 63102-2740

RE: Headbands; heading 6507; heading 6307; baseball caps; cut to length

Dear Mr. Botini:

This is in response to your letter dated May 25, 1996, on behalf of your client, Western Textile Products Company ("WTP"), requesting reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) 818295, dated February 29, 1996. In that ruling, Customs classified three-ply fabric to be used as headbands for baseball caps as other made up articles under subheading 6307.90.9989 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). You claim that the merchandise should be classified as headbands under subheading 6507.00.0000, HTSUSA.


WTC supplies textile fabrics and textile intermediate components to apparel manufacturers and is the largest manufacturer and distributor of components and fabrics of baseball caps to domestic manufacturers. WTP is negotiating with contractors in Mexico to make absorbent headbands ("sweatbands") for baseball caps. The headbands will be sold by WTP to cap manufacturers in the United States, which will incorporate the headbands into the inside edge of the cap. The headbands will support the cap and absorb perspiration. The headbands are constructed of cotton or poly/cotton print or twill fabric assembled with urethane foam and nonwoven fabric. The print cloth derives from Pakistani greige fabric which was finished in the United States. The other components are products of the United States. The headbands will be imported in roll form about 100 yards long and will consist of a 1 1/4 inch to 1 1/2 inch wide fabric band. They will be cut and sewn into caps after importation into the United States. You claim that the headbands are finished products and are ready for immediate incorporation into baseball cap crowns.

Your letter describes the process by which the headbands are incorporated into the cap crown. It is supported by an affidavit of the Product Development Manager of WTP, William F. Zurheide, and is illustrated by photographs. Mr. Zurheide states that the prevailing practice in the United States is not to precut to length similar headbands prior to selling the goods to cap manufactures because the manufacturers sew headbands directly into the crown of the cap from the roll. After the headband is sewn into the cap, the sewing machine operator cuts the headband to length with an automatic cutter on the sewing machine. This procedure provides the most convenient and productive means for inserting the headband into the cap and allows manufactures to make caps of different sizes with the same headband material rather than stocking headbands in a variety of sizes or lengths. The headband material in rolls is sewn directly into the cap as imported.


Whether the three-ply fabric qualifies for classification under heading 6507 as headbands (i.e., is it cut to shape or otherwise ready for incorporation into baseball caps)?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. You contend that the three-ply fabric is classifiable under heading 6507, which provides for "Headbands, linings, covers, hat foundations, hat frames, peaks (visors) and chinstraps, for headgear."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), while not legally binding, are recognized as the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. The EN for heading 6507 provides in pertinent part:

This heading covers only the following fittings for headgear:

(1) Head-bands for fitting on the inside edge of the crown. These are usually of leather, but may also be of composition leather, of oiled cloth or other coated fabric, etc. They are classified in this heading only when cut to length or otherwise ready for incorporation in the headgear. They frequently bear an inscription of the hat-maker's name, etc.

The merchandise in question is imported in roll form and does not, therefore, satisfy the "cut to length" criteria of the EN. The more difficult question is whether the merchandise is "otherwise ready for incorporation" in the headgear. In that regard, you contend that no intermediate cuttings or changes in form are needed between the completion of assembly of the
and its incorporation into the cap crown. They are made from light-weight materials in a construction appropriate for baseball caps. WTP does not sell the "headbands" to any other markets and there are no other uses known to WTP for the "headbands." You further contend that the imported fabric has the essential character of completed or finished "headbands" in that they are to be used only on the inside edge of baseball caps.

In Coraggio Design, Inc. v. United States, 12 CIT 143 (1988), the Court of International Trade held that imported rolls or bolts of drapery fabric which had a "continental hem" that dedicated its use solely as drapery and made it commercially unsuitable for other uses was, nevertheless, classified as fabric and not an article because the hem did not fix the identity of the drapery with certainty.

The principal that the identity of an article must be fixed with certainty was discussed earlier in
The Harding Co. v. United States, 23 CCPA 250, TD 48109 (1936). In that case, brake lining material was imported in 100 foot rolls. It was used for brake lining for automobiles and was not commercially suitable for other uses. After it was fitted and riveted to a brake shoe it was cut off at one end. The brake lining material was not marked to indicate where it was to be cut for the reason that, even though used as brake linings for automobiles, it was used in various lengths. The court held that the imported merchandise was material for making automobile brake linings and not parts of automobiles.

Moreover, in Bendix Mouldings, Inc. v. United States, 73 Cust. Ct. 201, 388 F. Supp. 1193 (1974), the court stated that "no matter how close the importation is to the finished article or how dedicated it is to a single use, it remains a material until the identity of actual articles can be seen emerging with certainty from the undifferentiated material." In Bendix, uncut wood moldings dedicated to use as picture frames but not dedicated to the making of any particular frame were not classifiable as unfinished frames but only as the material from which frames were made. See, American Import v. United States, 26 CCPA 72 (1938) (the mere fact that 60 foot lengths of silk fishing-leader gut was exclusively used for fishing leaders did not take it out of material classification).

In the instant case, the three-ply fabric is imported in roll form and is ready to be sewn into the inside edge of baseball caps. It is not marked to indicate where it is to be cut because it is first sewn into a baseball cap and then cut to fit the size of the cap into which it is sewn. Like the drapery fabric imported in rolls in Coraggio , the uncut wood picture frames in Bendix, and the brake lining material in Harding, no single headband made from the three-ply fabric in this case can be identified with certainty as an independent article. Even though the three-ply fabric is dedicated to use as headbands, like the materials dedicated to use as specific articles in the cited cases, the identity of the headbands cannot be seen emerging with certainty until they are sewn into baseball caps and cut to length.

In NY 818295 the three-ply fabric bands were classified under subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up [textile] articles. According to Note 7(c) to Section XI, the expression "made up" includes articles which are "Hemmed or with rolled edges. . . ." The three-ply fabric bands in question meet that definition and, therefore, remain classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9989, as stated in NY 818295.


The three-ply fabric bands imported in rolls is classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles. They are dutiable at the general rate of duty at 7 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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