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HQ 964819

April 24, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 964819 mbg


TARIFF NO.: 6302.21.7020; 6302.31.7020

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

RE: Napped Bed Sheets; Modification of NY F83310

Dear Mr. Crawford:

On March 15, 2000, Customs issued New York Ruling Letter (“NY”) NY F83310 to your company on behalf of your client, Induter USA Inc., regarding the tariff classification of bed linen which was originally classified as “not napped” under heading 6302 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule Annotated (“HTSUSA”). Upon review, Customs has determined that the bed linen was erroneously classified. The correct classification for the product should be under heading 6302, HTSUSA, as napped bed linen. NY F83310 is hereby modified for the reasons set forth below.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625 (c)), 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), a notice was published on March 14, 2001, in Vol. 35, No. 11 of the Customs Bulletin, proposing to modify NY F83310 and to revoke the treatment pertaining to the classification of napped bed linen. The only comment received was in favor of the action.


Samples of these flat sheets made from 100 percent cotton woven fabrics were erroneously classified. In NY F83310 the samples were described as follows:

Sample Ref # 1- napped and printed

Sample Ref # 5 – printed and not napped

Sample Ref # 9- printed and not napped

Sample Ref. # 15- not napped and not printed.

In addition, NY F83310 states that none of the samples contain any embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping or applique work.

For tariff classification purposes, the difference between napped and not napped bed linen is less than 3 percent ad valorem, however, not napped printed bed linen from the European Union is currently subject to a 100 percent ad valorem rate of duty pursuant to trade sanctions imposed by the United States Trade Representative.

Please be advised that USTR issued a press release on April 11, 2001, which indicated the withdrawal of the 100 percent duties as of July 1, 2001. For further information regarding duty rates for goods imported from the European Union, please see the USTR website at “www.ustr.gov”.

Upon review the classification applied by Customs in NY F83310 was incorrect. In NY F83310, Sample Ref # 5 and Sample Ref # 9 were classified under subheading 6302.21.9020, HTSUSA, as “Other bed linen: printed: of cotton: not napped: sheets,” while Sample Ref # 15 was classified under subheading 6302.31.9020, HTSUSA, as “Other bed linen: of cotton: not napped: sheets” The classification of Sample Ref # 1 in subheading 6302.21.7020, HTSUSA, as “Other bed linen: printed: of cotton: other: napped: sheets” remains unaffected by this ruling.


What is the proper classification for the described bed sheets?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRI”). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule 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 may then be applied.

The Explanatory Notes (“EN”) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. The EN state in regard to heading 6302, HTSUSA, that “bed linen” includes “sheets, pillowcases, bolster cases, eiderdown cases and mattress covers.” As bed linen is eo nomine provided for within heading 6302, HTSUSA, classification within this heading is proper.

Under the terms of the HTSUSA, the classification of bed linen depends upon the fiber content; whether printed or not; whether napped or not; whether any component contains embroidery, trimming, lace, etc., and whether the sheet set constitutes a "retail" set or not. The determinative issue in this case is whether the subject sheets are considered napped or not napped for tariff classification purposes and specifically what level or amount of napping is required.

Statistical Note 1(k) to Chapter 52 of the HTSUSA which provides for cotton states:

The term “napped” means fabrics with a fuzzy, fibrous surface produced by scratching or pricking the surface so that some of the fibers are raised from the body of the yarn. Napped fabrics are not to be confused with pile fabrics. Outing and canton flannel, moleskin, etc. are typical fabrics with a nap.

Determination of the tariff classification of the subject merchandise requires an understanding of terminology which is germane to the issue and utilized by the textile industry. We note the following definitions:

Nap- A downy surface given to a cloth when part of the fiber is raised from the basic structure. Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology 100 (1990).

Napping- A finishing process that raises the surface fibers of a fabric by means of passage over rapidly revolving cylinders covered with metal points or teasel burrs. Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology 100 (1990).

Napped Fabrics- Napped fabrics are processed so that they have either a slight or a dramatic nap on the face or both sides of the fabric. The napping process is accomplished by weaving loosely twisted yarns into the textile, which are then sheared and brushed to create the soft napped surface. Napped fabrics differ from PILE fabrics, in that they do not have extra threads incorporated in the textile.

Napping is considered a FINISHING process and is used on many fibers, including manufactured fibers, silk and wool, as well as specialty fibers such as camel hair and mohair. Occasionally the napped effect does not continuously cover the fabric but is executed in stripes or figures. Encyclopedia of Textiles, Judith Jerde, 157 (1992).

Napped-Finished Goods- These may be of a single or double finish, slight or heavy. Single finish occurs when one side of the goods is napped; double finish fabric has both sides of the material napped.

A slight finish occurs when the napped cloth is not as high in protruding fibers nor as thick when compared with heavy nap. The finish is given to fabrics known for their napped characteristics and for those that can withstand the rigors of the treatment. Certain woolen and cotton cloths receive this type of treatment- baby clothes, blankets, domett, flannel, lining, molleton, silence cloth, etc.

The finish is applied by rollers covered with 1 inch card clothing similar to that used on the fancy roller of the woolen card, or by a roller clothed with teasels.

Some fabrics are given from three to four up to ten or twelve roller treatments to obtain the desired napped effect for the surface finish. The napping may be done in the gray goods states as well as in the regular finishing operations. The Modern Textile and Apparel Dictionary, George E. Linton, 386 (1973).

(emphasis added.)

Neither the Court of International Trade nor its predecessor, the Customs Court, have considered the issue of napping exclusive of making a distinction from pile. However, in Tilton Textile Corp. v. United States, 424 F.Supp 1053, 77 Cust. Ct. 27, C.D. 4670 (1976) aff’d, 565 F.2d 140 (1977), the court stated:

[W]hat is termed a "nap" or "napped fabrics" is produced by the raising of some of the fibers of the threads which compose the basic fabric, whereas the "pile" on "pile fabrics" must be the raising at intervals, in the form of loops, the entire thickness of extra threads introduced into, but not essential to the basic fabric, which thus form an "uncut pile."

Tilton at 44. (emphasis added.) The Customs Court acknowledged that only some of the fibers must be raised on the fabric. Furthermore, Statistical Note 1(k), Chapter 52 to the HTSUS which defines “napping” does not require that a specified amount of fibers must be raised in order to qualify as a napped good. Rather the Note requires that “some of the fibers” are raised.

The issue of what levels of napping are required in order to be considered “napped” for tariff classification purposes under the HTSUSA was based on the issuance of a ruling under the previous tariff. HQ 080945, dated July 20, 1988, dealt with the issue of whether cotton twill fabric was napped for purposes of the Tariff Schedule of the United States, the predecessor to the current Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. HQ 080945 stated:

Both technical literature and the Statistical Headnotes to the Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (“TSUSA”) indicate that for a fabric to be known as napped it must have a substantial portion of at least one surface covered with raised fibers.

(emphasis added). However, review of Headnote 1(k), Subpart A, Part 3, Schedule 3 TSUSA, which is the relevant TSUSA Note on napped fabrics, reveals that HQ 080945 was in error. The TSUSA Note states:

Napped: Fabrics with a fuzzy, fibrous surface produced by scratching or pricking the surface so that some of the fibers are raised from the body of the yarn. Napped fabrics are not to be confused with pile fabrics. Outing and canton fabrics, moleskin, etc., are typical fabrics with a nap.

See Headnote 1(k), Subpart A, Part 3, Schedule 3 TSUSA. The applicable Note under the TSUSA only requires that some of the fibers are raised in the fabric to be napped. This is consistent with the HTSUSA as well as the Tilton decision.

Research in various textile sources as well as analysis by laboratory experts reveals that the subject merchandise has been subjected to a low level of brushing which has created a napped effect on the bed linen. Upon receipt of this request, Customs subjected the merchandise to further lab analysis and the Customs laboratory confirmed the importer’s own lab report which claims the subject merchandise is a woven, napped fabric albeit with a low level of napping evident.

The tariff does not require that a set amount of fibers must be raised in order to qualify as a napped product for classification purposes and therefore the U.S. Customs Service will not subjectively determine levels of napping which must be fulfilled for products to be classified as napped. While the napping on the subject merchandise is slight, the level of napping is still visible to the eye and has been accomplished through the brushing process which is necessary for the formation of all napping. Therefore, the subject merchandise is considered napped for tariff classification purposes.


NY F83310 is hereby modified.

Sample Ref # 5 and Sample Ref # 9 are properly classified in subheading 6302.21.7020, HTSUSA, as “Bed Linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen: Other bed linen, printed: Of cotton: Other: Napped: Sheets.” The general column one rate of duty is 4 percent ad valorem. The textile restraint number is 361.

Sample Ref # 15 is properly classified in subheading 6302.31.7020, HTSUSA, as “Bed Linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen: Other bed linen: Of cotton: Other: Napped: Sheets” The general column one rate of duty is 4.9 percent ad valorem. The textile restraint number is 361.

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, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


NY F83310 is modified. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. §1625 (c), this ruling will become effective sixty (60) days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


John Durant, Director

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