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NY J81544

March 14, 2003

CLA-2-63:RR:NC:TA:349 J81544


TARIFF NO.: 6302.31.5020

Mr. Rick Lewis
Tex Home International Ltd.
P.O. Box 2173
Davidson, NC 28036

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

Dear Mr. Lewis:

In your letter dated February 28, 2003 you requested a classification ruling.

The submitted sample is a sheet set. The sheet set consists of a flat sheet, fitted sheet and a pillowcase. All three items are made from 100 percent cotton woven fabric. The pillowcase is folded and sewn along two sides with a slit opening along the fourth used to accommodate the insertion of the pillow. It features a 4-inch hem that has been pre-stitched and covered with a satin stitch. The pillowcase measures 20 x 32 inches. The flat sheet is hemmed along three sides. It measures 90 x 102 inches. The hem at the top edge of the sheet is finished in the same manner as the pillowcase. The fitted sheet is fully elasticized and measures 60 x 80 inches. The fitted sheet does not contain any decoration. The set is packed together for retail sale.

The pillowcase and flat sheet feature a “satin stitch”. 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 a satin stitch is commonly 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 pillowcase and flat sheet contain a stitch that has a decorative effect and would be considered ornamental. The satin stitch enhances the appearance of the submitted samples. The stitching is not required to complete the hem of the 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

Following HRL 963601, the stitching on the pillowcase and the flat sheet is considered embroidery and these items will be classifiable as “containing any embroidery”.

The Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States at the international level, state in Note (X) to Rule 3 (b) that the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" means goods which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are prima facie, classifiable in different headings; (b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

The bed 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 (decorated pillowcase, decorated flat sheet and plain fitted sheet). They 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 decorated components impart the essential character of the set.

The applicable subheading for the sheet set will be 6302.31.5020, 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 nappedsheets. The duty rate will be 21.2 percent ad valorem.

Although classified as a set, the individual components are subject to textile category numbers as if they were classified separately. Accordingly, the sheets fall within textile category designation 361. The pillowcase falls within textile category designation 361. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of the 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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