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NY I85289

August 23, 2002

CLA-2-63:RR:NC:TA:349 I85289


TARIFF NO.: 6302.31.5020

Ms. Rita Pitts
Dillard’s, Inc.
1600 Cantrell
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

RE: The tariff classification of a sheet set from Hong Kong.

Dear Ms. Pitts:

In your letter dated August 13, 2002 you requested a classification ruling.

The instant sample, identified as style number 400BBLUCKST, is a sheet set. The set is comprised of a flat sheet, fitted sheet and two pillowcases. All of the items are made from 100 percent cotton woven fabric. The fitted sheet is fully elasticized. The flat sheet has a ½ inch hem on three sides with the remaining side having a 4-inch hem. The pillowcase is sewn along two sides and has a slit opening along one end used to accommodate the insertion of a pillow. The hem at the open end of the pillowcase and flat sheet features a decorative stitch sometimes referred to as “hemstitching” or “picot stitch”. This decorative stitch is sewn over the seam created when the 4-inch wide hem was formed. The fitted sheet has no decorative features. As requested the sample is being returned.

Heading 6302, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, provides for, inter alia, bed linen. The sheets and pillowcases 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 issue for these items is whether the decorative stitching along the hem is considered embroidery for purposes of classification. The stitching on the flat sheet and pillowcases is created by punching a line of small circular holes in the fabric and holding these holes open with a series of stitches. This stitching, which is a machine imitation of hand hem stitching, is superimposed over a finished 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 on the subject merchandise. Although this “hemstitching” is recognized as an embroidery stitch, it was noted in the ruling that the function or purpose of the stitching is a fundamental part of the definition of embroidery. 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, the flat sheet and pillowcases contain a stitch that has a decorative effect and would be considered ornamental. The “hemstitch” enhances the appearance of the submitted sample. The stitching is not required to complete the hem of the flat sheet and pillowcases as it is superimposed upon a previously completed seam. Recently, the issue of a decorative stitch superimposed on a completed hem was addressed in HRL 963601 dated February 15, 2000. In that ruling it was noted that when the decorative stitch was removed the hem did not fall apart. The hem on that item was sewn in place by a straight stitch. The decorative stitch was held to be embroidery.

When the decorative stitch on the submitted sample is removed, the hem does not fall apart. Following HRL 963601, the stitching on the flat sheet and pillowcases is considered embroidery and they will be classifiable as “containing any embroidery”.

The instant sheet set meets the qualifications of "goods put up in sets for retail sale". The components of the set consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings (embroidered pillowcases, embroidered flat sheet and a plain fitted sheet). Thy are put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and they are packed for sale directly to users without repacking. The embroidered components impart the essential character of the set.

The applicable subheading for the sheet set will be 6302.31.5010, 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: containing any embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping or applique work: not napped sheets. The duty rate will be 21.5 percent ad valorem.

Although classified as a set, the individual components are subject to textile category numbers as if they were classified separately. The fitted and flat sheets fall within category designation 361. The pillowcases fall within textile category designation 360. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of Hong Kong are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

The designated textile and apparel categories and their quota and visa status are the result of international agreements that are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the U.S. Customs Service Textile Status Report, an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available at the Customs Web site at www.customs.gov. In addition, the designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected and should also be verified at the time of shipment.

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 646-733-3043.


Robert B. Swierupski

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