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HQ 964692

July 25, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 964692 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 6213.20.2000

Area Director
JFK International Airport
Building 77
Jamaica, NY 11430

RE: I.A. 00/028: Woven cotton handkerchiefs with decorative design in contrasting stitching

Dear Area Director:

This ruling is in response to your memorandum, dated October 25, 2000, Internal Advice 00/028 regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of woven cotton handkerchiefs with decorative design in contrasting stitching. Samples were submitted to this office for examination. The Request for Internal Advice was initiated by John Pellegrini, Esq., on behalf of I. Shalom & Co., Inc. (“Importer”).


The subject items are hemmed woven 100 percent white cotton handkerchiefs measuring approximately 40 cm square. A single letter monogram measuring approximately 22 mm by 18 mm has been stitched in contrasting color thread and appears in the lower quadrant. The handkerchief will be marketed by folding the square so that the decorative design is readily apparent to the purchaser.

The import specialist classified the handkerchiefs under subheading 6213.20.1000, HTSUSA, which provides for “Handkerchiefs: Of cotton: Hemmed, not containing lace or embroidery.” The Importer disagrees with this classification and claims that the handkerchiefs should be classified under subheading 6213.20.2000, HTSUSA, as “Other” (embroidered).


What is the proper classification for the merchandise?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods 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 heading 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, although not dispositive, are used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUSA by providing a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA. See, T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Under the HTSUSA, Chapter 58 contains a definition of “embroidery” at Note 6, as follows:

In heading 5810, the expression “embroidery” means, inter alia, embroidery with metal or glass thread on a visible ground of textile fabric, and sewn applique work of sequins, beads or ornamental motifs of textile or other materials.

The EN to heading 5810, further provides that the embroidery threads are usually of textiles, and that “Embroidery is obtained by working with embroidering threads on a pre-existing ground of woven fabric, in order to produce an ornamental effect on that ground.”

Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 084964, dated September 19, 1989, cites Chapter 58, Note 6, and the EN to heading 5810 in determining that handkerchiefs embroidered with a triangle measuring 14 cm by 9 cm, in non-contrasting stitching, are properly classified in subheading 6213.20.1000, HTSUSA, which provides for “Handkerchiefs: of cotton: Hemmed, not containing lace or embroidery.” In this ruling it was determined that the embroidery does not produce an ornamental effect and does not affect the classification of the merchandise since it failed to perform a commercial purpose. See also HQ 086860, dated November 9, 1990, which affirms the decision in HQ 084964, and cites to United States v. Harden, 68 Fed. 182, 15 C.C.A. 358, cert. denied, 163 U.S. 709 (1895) wherein the Court stated that “the embroidery of a single letter upon the corner of the handkerchief is so limited in its extent and of such comparative narrowness as not to require that the handkerchiefs should be regarded as embroidered.”

In the subject case, the handkerchiefs bear a distinctive single letter monogram measuring approximately 22 mm by 18 mm. Therefore, it is not subject to United States v. Harden (supra) because the monogram is neither limited in its extent nor comparatively narrow in design. Inasmuch as these woven cotton handkerchiefs bear monograms stitched in contrasting color and will be marketed so as to be visible to the purchaser, we have determined that the decorative stitching has produced an ornamental effect and performs a commercial purpose. Accordingly, we have determined that the subject handkerchiefs are “embroidered” within the meaning of the HTSUSA.

It is also important to note that in defining the term “embroidery” under the HTSUSA, HQ 086860 (supra) cites to the case of Baylis Brothers, Inc. v. United States, 60 Cust. Ct. 336, C.D. 3383 (1968), aff’d., 416 F.2d 1383 (CCPA 1969) which involved the classification under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (predecessor of the HTSUSA), of smocked dress fronts. The Baylis case addressed whether or not the U.S. Customs Court was correct in holding that the definition of the term “embroidery” when used in the Tariff Act, ordinarily requires that for a thing to be embroidered, there must be an ornamental, superimposed stitching which is the result of needlework. In Baylis the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals affirmed the lower court’s holding by finding that “the operative feature of embroidery, for tariff purposes, is the ornamental characteristic of the stitching.” In applying the Baylis decision to the merchandise which is now at issue, we find that the decorative designs appearing on each of the subject articles can be characterized as ornamental, superimposed stitching which is the result of needlework.

This is consistent with our recent ruling in HQ 964618, which classified handkerchiefs of identical design as “Other” (embroidered) handkerchiefs under subheading 6213.20.2000, HTSUSA. This ruling is scheduled for publication in the Customs Bulletin pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), because it revokes New York Ruling (NY) G82728 which incorrectly classified certain handkerchiefs embroidered in contrasting color thread under subheading 6213.20.1000, HTSUSA, as “Handkerchiefs: Of cotton: Hemmed, not containing lace or embroidery.”


Based on the foregoing, the subject merchandise is correctly classified in subheading 6213.20.2000, HTSUSA, which provides for “ Handkerchiefs: Of cotton: Other.” The general column one duty rate is 7.2 percent ad valorem. The textile category is 330.

You are to mail this decision to the internal advice applicant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs Personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and by other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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