United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2001 HQ Rulings > HQ 965079 - HQ 965310 > HQ 965143

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 965143

November 23, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965143 TD


TARIFF NO: 6304.92.0000

Mr. Brian White, Classification Analyst
Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
International Operations
151 Union Street, 7th floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

RE: Binding Ruling Request; Classification of a Day Bed Mattress Cover

Dear Mr. White:

This is in response to your letter of June 6, 2001, on behalf of Williams-Sonoma, Inc., in which you requested a binding classification ruling for a daybed mattress cover pursuant to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). While your inquiry was originally sent to the National Import Specialist in New York, it was subsequently forwarded to the Headquarters Office of Regulations & Rulings to determine the tariff classification. You submitted a sample to assist us in our determination.


The article at issue is a "Striped Day Bed Mattress Cover" (daybed cover), identified by Pottery Barn Bed & Bath SKU # 4000118. This item is made of 100 percent cotton yarn dyed woven fabric and measures approximately 38 inches wide and 75 inches in length. This daybed cover is designed to cover up to a 14-inch thick twin-size mattress and is constructed in a manner similar to a fitted sheet. It contains piping along the top edges of all four sides and secures itself to the daybed by elastic banding on the underside.


Whether the subject merchandise should be classified under heading 9401, HTSUSA, as parts of seats; heading 6302, HTSUSA, as bed linen; or heading 6304, HTSUSA, as other furnishing articles.


The Customs Service classifies imported merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides, in part, that classification decisions are to be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.” GRI 1 further provides that merchandise which can not be classified in accordance with the dictates of GRI 1 should be classified pursuant to the other General Rules of Interpretation in their sequential order.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive of classification issues, the EN provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127-28 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The daybed cover under consideration is potentially classifiable in the following three HTSUSA headings: Heading 9401, HTSUSA, as parts of seats; heading 6302, HTSUSA, as bed linen; or heading 6304, HTSUSA, as other furnishing articles.

Heading 9401, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part, for seats, whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof. The EN to heading 9401 state that the heading encompasses inter alia, couches, settees, sofas, ottomans and the like. According to the EN, the heading also covers identifiable parts of chairs or other seats, such as backs, bottoms and arm-rests (whether or not upholstered with straw or cane, stuffed or sprung), and spiral springs assembled for seat upholstery.

The exemplars listed in the EN for heading 9401, backs, bottoms, arm-rests and spiral springs, are all components of the seat itself. Effectively, they represent items that are essential to the composition of a seat itself. Unlike any of the exemplars, the daybed cover in this circumstance is not a component part used for the construction of a seat, but rather a decorative accessory to a daybed or mattress, making it look more like a couch. The daybed cover is not “ejusdem generis” or “of the same kind” of merchandise as the exemplars cited in the EN to 9401. Accordingly, the daybed cover is not properly classifiable under heading 9401, HTSUSA, as a part of a seat.

Notably, when a slipcover has been cut to size to fit a sofa frame that would be an unfinished product but for the slipcover, Customs Headquarters has classified the merchandise in heading 9401, HTSUSA, as part of a seat. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 960195, dated August 13, 1997. The decision in HQ 960195 also distinguished that when a slipcover is used over a finished sofa, providing protection against wear and tear, the slipcover is not considered to be part of the sofa per se. [Emphasis added]. Applying that rationale to this case, the subject daybed cover is used over a finished daybed or mattress and would not be considered part of a daybed or mattress per se and not properly classifiable under heading 9401, as part of a seat.

In addition, this office has consistently ruled that heading 9401 is inapplicable for slipcovers, seat covers that are "like" furniture slipcovers, and cushion covers, which do not have to undergo further processing. See HQ 084323, dated July 20, 1989; HQ 085885, dated January 23, 1990; and HQ 951528, dated August 14, 1992. The reasoning followed by these rulings was that slipcovers and the like, imported without cushions, cannot be considered part(s) of a seat under 9401, HTSUSA. Since the instant daybed cover is imported without a cushion or mattress, it cannot be considered a part of a seat.

The subject merchandise is also not properly classifiable in heading 9401, HTSUSA, under the rationale set forth in Bauerhin Technologies Ltd. United States (hereinafter Bauerhin), 19 CIT 1441, 914 F. Supp. 554 (1995), affirmed 110 F.3d 774 (Fed. Cir. 1997). In Bauerhin, the Court of International Trade (CIT) held, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed, that canopies specifically designed for use with child automobile safety seats were classified as parts of the car seats for which they were designed under heading 9401, HTSUSA.

In Bauerhin, the canopies considered, which were classified as parts of car seats, were specially designed to fit over child automobile safety seats. While the canopies were imported separately from the seats with which they were to be used, they were sold as parts of the seats to which they attached. In contrast, the daybed cover here at issue is not sold as part of the mattress to which it attaches. Moreover, the subject daybed cover is sold separate from a mattress as an accessory, usable with various twin size mattresses. While the canopy in Bauerhin was designed to fit a particular car seat, the daybed cover could be used with many mattresses. Therefore, the Bauerhin rationale does not extend to the subject merchandise.

Having precluded classification under heading 9401, the next consideration is to determine under which heading of Chapter 63 the subject merchandise is classifiable. Under Chapter 63, the competing headings for the subject daybed cover are heading 6302, HTSUSA, which provides for inter alia, bed linen, and heading 6304, HTSUSA, which provides for other textile furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404.

Heading 6302, HTSUSA, provides for inter alia, bed linen. The EN for heading 6302, HTSUSA, state that bed linen includes, "sheets, pillow cases, bolster cases, eiderdown cases and mattress covers." Thus, the EN expressly provides for mattress covers as a form of bed linen. However, despite the specific EN reference to mattress covers as bed linen, the instant daybed mattress cover is visibly and functionally distinguishable from bed linen. The exemplar mattress covers in the EN of heading 6302 represent items that are normally used directly on a mattress, under a fitted sheet, while a person is sleeping. A mattress cover ordinarily functions to provide added comfort to the sleeper and, to some extent, protect the mattress. Another type of mattress cover is waterproof, which protects a mattress from spilled liquids and/or to create a barrier between the sleeper and the bedding to prevent allergens in the mattress from affecting the sleeper. See HQ 960524, issued October 22, 1997.

In contrast to the examples of bed linen listed in the EN for heading 6302, the subject daybed cover is not used in a manner like bed linen. While a mattress cover is typically used under a fitted sheet, the subject merchandise is designed for use over a fitted sheet, not under it. Moreover, the subject daybed cover does not offer either the comfort to the sleeper afforded in an ordinary mattress pad nor protection from spills or allergens provided by a waterproof mattress pad. Although fitted like a sheet, the daybed cover is not used in the manner of a fitted sheet because it is not intended for use on a bed while a person is sleeping. The piping around the edges also suggests that a person would not sleep on top of the daybed cover but would remove it and sleep on the mattress with bed linens. The subject daybed cover is used in a manner similar to a bedspread or a slipcover for a piece of furniture. Like a bedspread, the subject item has a decorative purpose, does not improve comfort and is removed before sleeping. In view of that, it is not properly classifiable under heading 6302, HTSUSA, as bed linen.

Having excluded classification in heading 9401, HTSUSA, and heading 6302, HTSUSA, the next heading under consideration is heading 6304, HTSUSA, which provides for other furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404, HTSUSA. Heading 9404, HTSUSA, provides for among other things, articles of bedding and similar furnishings with springs or stuffed. As this daybed cover is not "stuffed" or filled, it is precluded from classification in heading 9404, HTSUSA, and is therefore appropriately classified in heading 6304, HTSUSA, as an other furnishing article.

The EN to heading 6304 provide that the heading covers furnishing articles of textile materials including, among other things, bedspreads (but not including bed coverings of heading 9404), cushion covers, and loose covers for furniture. The daybed cover under consideration is closely related to the above exemplars, particularly a bedspread. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, the Unabridged Edition (1983), defines a bedspread as "an outer covering, usually decorative, for a bed." The subject daybed cover is decorative and serves to cover a bed in a manner similar to a bedspread. Like a bedspread, it does not improve the comfort of the mattress and it is removed before the bed is used for sleeping. Accordingly, the subject daybed cover is properly classifiable under heading 6304, HTSUSA. Given that the daybed cover is made of cotton, it is classifiable under subheading 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for other furnishing articles, excluding those of heading 9404, not knitted or crocheted, of cotton.


Based on the foregoing, the subject merchandise is classified in subheading 6304.92.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for other furnishings articles, excluding those of heading 9404: Other: not knitted or crocheted, of cotton. The applicable rate of duty is 6.6 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 369. The designated textile and apparel category 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 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 updated weekly and is available for inspection at your local Customs office. The Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels) is also available on the Customs Electronic Bulletin Board (CEBB) which can be found on the U.S. Customs Service Website at www.customs.gov.

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

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: