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NY F89624

August 10, 2000

CLA-2-63:RR:NC:TA:349 F89624


TARIFF NO.: 6302.31.9010; 6302.31.9020

Mr. James O. Crawford
John S. James Co.
P.O. Box 1616
Wilmington, NC 28401

RE: The tariff classification of a pillowcase and sheets from Spain.

Dear Mr. Crawford:

In your letter dated July 13, 2000 you requested a classification ruling on behalf of Induter USA Inc, C/O Davidson Cotton Co.

You submitted samples of a pillowcase, fitted sheet and flat sheet. All of the items are made from 100 percent cotton woven fabric. The fitted sheet is a standard construction with an elasticized top and bottom edge and has no decorative features. The flat sheet and pillowcase are also of standard construction with a self-hem at the top of the sheet and at the opening of the pillowcase. The hem at the open end of the pillowcase and the hem along the top edge of the flat sheet feature a decorative stitch sometimes referred to as “hemstitching”. This decorative stitch is sewn along the seam created when the 2.75 wide hems were formed.

Heading 6302, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, provides for, inter alia, bed linen. The pillowcases and flat sheets at issue are classifiable within this heading. The heading is divided into subheadings that provide for bed linen with specific decorative features and those that are plain. Embroidery is included in these specific decorative features. The specific issue for these items with the “hemstitch” is whether the decorative stitching along the hem is considered embroidery for purposes of classification. The stitching the flat sheet and pillowcase is created by punching a line of small circular holes in the fabric and holding these holes open with a series of stitches. In addition to the decorative effect, this machine stitching is the only stitching that holds the hem.

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 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, even though the stitching on the pillowcase and flat sheet is decorative in nature, the stitching has a fundamental purpose in that it is required to complete the hem of the pillowcase and flat sheet. 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 that 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.

The applicable subheading for the pillowcase will be 6302.31.9010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen: other bed linen: of cotton: other: not napped pillowcases, other than bolster cases. The duty rate will be 7.1 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the flat and fitted sheets will be 6302.31.9020, HTS, which provides for bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen: other bed linen: of cotton: other: not napped sheets. The duty rate will be 7.1 percent ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist John Hansen at 212-637-7078.


Robert B. Swierupski

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