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HQ 966433

March 11, 2004

CLA-2: RR:CR:TE 966433 TMF


TARIFF NO.: 6307.10.1090

Port Director
Customs Border and Protection
200 E. Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401-2611

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest 1601-02-100508; classification of cotton terry towels

Dear Sir or Madame:

This is in reply to your correspondence forwarding Application for Further Review of Protest (AFR) 1601-02-100508, filed by DHL Danzas Air and Ocean/Danzas AEI Customs Brokerage Services (hereinafter referred to as “DHL”), behalf of their client, RKP Trading Corporation. Your office submitted samples of the merchandise at issue for our review.


On October 31, 2002, your office issued a Notice of Rate Advance which notified the importer of CBPs intent to reliquidate six entries and classify the subject merchandise as terry toilet and kitchen linen, other than dish towels, in subheading 6302.60.0020 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).

DHL timely filed the subject protest and Application for Further Review on November 15, 2002 against Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) reliquidation on November 15, 2002 of five entries which were previously liquidated as entered and were the subject of the October 31, 2002 rate advance notice. A sixth entry, also the subject of the October 31, 2002 rate advance notice, is the subject of another protest
subsequently filed at the Port, which is in suspense status contingent on the determination of the instant protest. Our office was notified of the importer’s representation by the law firm of Saul Ewing, LLP on December 2, 2003.

Review of the AFR is warranted pursuant to 19 C.F.R. §§174.24 and 174.25 on the basis that CBP has not previously ruled on the classification of salon towels as described in the facts herein.

At the time of importation in 2001, the merchandise was originally invoiced and entered by the importer in subheading 6307.10.1090, HTSUSA, which provides, in pertinent part, for dust cloths, mop cloths and polishing cloths of cotton, other than bar mops of terry fabric. The protestant claims that the subject merchandise is sold to, and used by the beauty and barber industry as multipurpose cloths, intended for cleanup, not as toilet or kitchen linen, which is classifiable in subheading 6302.60.0020, HTSUSA. Accordingly, protestant requests reliquidation as originally entered and to have all supplemental bills cancelled.

Four samples were submitted directly to you: SU1-1, SU1-2, SU2-3 and SU3-1. In a supplemental submission, the protestant indicated the identification of the subject towels as Partex Legacy Towels (style #204500 Black), described the merchandise as not as finely woven as one would expect from a hand towel, and indicated that the dimensions are 14 inches wide, plus or minus a half inch. Our measurement of styles SU1-1, SU1-2, SU2-3 and SU3-1 are:

A burgundy-colored towel which measures approximately 14.5 x 28 inches; A white-colored terry towel which measures approximately 14.5 x 26 inches; A white-colored terry towel which measures approximately 14.5 x 26 inches; A white-colored terry towel which measures approximately 14 x 26 inches.

Two other samples, identified as SU3-2 and SU2-3, in white and gray colors respectively, were submitted directly to Headquarters by the protestant. Their sizes are comparable to the original four towels above. The Protestant has stated that their client, RKP Trading, intends to sell the towels as general-purpose utility towels.

In a conference held on February 3, 2004 at Headquarters, counsel for the protestant presented additional arguments and samples in support of classifying the instant towels in heading 6307, HTSUSA.


Whether the subject towels manufactured by Partex International identified as style numbers SU1-1, SU1-2, SU2-3 and SU3-1, SU3-2 and SU2-3, and described in the facts above, are classifiable in subheading 6302.60.0020, HTSUSA, which provides for toilet linen and kitchen linen, other than dish towels, or in subheading 6307.10.1010, HTSUSA, which provides for cotton dustcloths, mop cloths & polishing cloths, other than bar mops?


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) represent the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings) and facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. The ENs, although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings.

You classified the subject towels in subheading 6302.60, HTSUSA, which provides for the classification of "Bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen: Toilet linen and kitchen linen, of terry toweling or similar terry fabrics, of cotton." Although the term towel is not defined in the tariff nor the Explanatory Notes, EN 63.02 (3) describes toilet linen as "e.g., hand or face towels (including roller towels), bath towels, beach towels, face cloths and toilet gloves."

The Protestant stated in their initial submission that the subject towels are sold as general-purpose utility towels. The Protestant also submitted several affidavits from various barber and beauty shops which stated that the subject towels are purchased for use in wiping up drips and brushing cut hair from customers clothing, used for wiping chairs, cleaning counters, equipment, dyes and solutions from sinks. The Protestant contends that by virtue of the towels use, they are appropriately classifiable in subheading 6307.10, HTSUSA, which provides for floorcloths, dishcloths, dusters and other similar cleaning cloths.

Heading 6307, HTSUSA, provides for the classification of other made up articles, including dress patterns. The expression made up, pursuant to Section XI, note 7, means:

(a) Cut otherwise than into squares or rectangles; (b) Produced in the finished state, ready for use (or merely needing separation by cutting dividing threads) without sewing or other working (for example, certain dusters, towels, tablecloths, scarf squares, blankets); (c) Hemmed or with rolled edges, or with a knotted fringe at any of the edges, but excluding fabrics the cut edges of which have been prevented from unravelling by whipping or by other simple means; (d) Cut to size and having undergone a process of drawn thread work; (e) Assembled by sewing, gumming or otherwise (other than piece goods consisting of two or more lengths of identical material joined end to end and piece goods composed of two or more textiles assembled in layers, whether or not padded); or (f) Knitted or crocheted to shape, whether presented as separate items or in the form of a number of items in the length.

Heading 6307 is a basket provision, which is appropriate only when there is no [other] tariff category which covers the merchandise more specifically. See Apex Universal, Inc., v. United States, 22 CIT 465, CIT Slip Op. 98-69 (May 21, 1998). ENs to heading 6307, HTSUSA, outline classification within this respective heading for other made up articles of any textile material, provided the articles are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature. Further, paragraph (1) to EN 63.07 provides, in part, that made up articles for the purposes of heading 6307, HTSUSA, include [f]loor-cloths, dish-cloths, dusting cloths and similar cleaning cloths. Explanatory Note 63.07(1).

The issue before CBP is whether the Protestant’s assertion of use is controlling to classify the subject articles as cleaning cloths in subheading 6307.10, HTSUSA. The difficulty confronting CBP in this instance, is that low-end or lesser quality toilet linen of heading 6302, HTSUSA, is very similar to cleaning cloths classified in heading 6307, HTSUSA. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 964235 dated July 26, 2002, which classified in subheading 6302.60.0020, HTSUSA, four cotton terry towels whose packaging identified the merchandise as detail towels; however, they were sold in a retail beauty supply store. CBP, because of the similarities that make lesser quality toilet linen difficult to distinguish from cleaning towels of heading 6307, HTSUSA, relies on United States v. Carborundum Co., 536 F.2d 373 (C.C.P.A. 1976). Id. The Carborundum decision set forth criteria for determining whether imported merchandise was of a particular class or kind. The factors considered by the court include:

(1) The general physical characteristics of the merchandise; (2) The expectation of the ultimate purchasers; (3) The channels, class or kind of trade in which the merchandise moves; (4) The environment of sale, which includes accompanying accessories and the manner in which the merchandise is marketed; (5) The use, if any, in the same manner as the merchandise which defines the class or kind of merchandise; and (6) The economic practicality and recognition in the trade of using the imported merchandise in a particular manner. See Id. at 377.

Regarding the subject towel’s general physical characteristics, CBP reviewed the samples and found the white towels appear thinner than the dyed ones however, part of that is due to the color. Comparing the two towels submitted by the importer, the gray towel SU2-3 appears to have a higher pile with more twist in the pile yarn (perhaps even more pile yarns per inch). The labeled towels that have been dyed also appear to have more pile.

In their post-conference submission, counsel articulated other physical factors that indicate the subject towels are cleaning cloths and not toilet linen of heading 6302, HTSUSA. Counsel refers to some of these physical factors: the absence of drop cam borders; the towel’s rough/coarse texture; loose weave and width measurement of less than fifteen inches. While we do not agree with counsel that the absence of drop cam borders is dispositive that the subject towels are not toilet linen, we find that drop cam borders “offer a decorative feature, although minimal, that one would associate with toilet linen[but do not offer any] value to cleaning towels.” See Headquarters Ruling Letter 964235, dated July 26, 2002. However, we concur with counsel that the towel’s textural characteristics are of a kind similar to general cleaning cloths.

Regarding the Carborundum factors of marketing and use, counsel contends that while CBP places significant emphasis on such factors as the towel’s marketing, channels of trade, and the expectations of the ultimate purchasers, counsel believes that the expectations of the barber and beauty supply stores’ clients should be paramount in the subject towels’ classification, as RKP Trading customers are the ultimate purchasers and users of the towels.

In the case of the towels’ use, counsel asserts in the post-conference submission that although several affidavits refer to several uses

Other cited examples are: drying the patron’s hair (or, at least soaking up excess water after shampooing prior to styling), and cleaning hair from customers during styling by preventing cut hair from getting on the customer and their clothing (by draping the towel around the neck and/or under the collar. such as “dust[ing] some hair off a customer", these uses are fugitive in nature and not controlling to classify the goods in heading 6302, HTSUSA. Rather, since the low grade towels are principally used for general wiping and cleaning Described by counsel as "various mundane utilitarian cleaning"for "wiping" purposes, i.e., of surfaces such as sinks, countertops and equipment.”, they are excluded from classification in heading 6302, HTSUSA, which provides eo nomine for "bed linen, table linen, toilet linen and kitchen linen” by application of the EN to heading 6302, HTSUSA, which states, in pertinent part:

[a]rticles such as floor cloths, dish cloths, scouring cloths, dusters and similar cleaning cloths, generally made of course thick material are excluded (heading 63.07) (emphasis added).

We concur and find that the subject towels’ principle use of general utilitarian cleaning, whether to clean up spills on a sink or clean up after cutting hair, confers classification within heading 6307, HTSUSA.

Moreover, while salons and barbershops use the subject towels for any number of purposes during the hair styling process, such as drying hair, drying skin, protecting against hair and fluids, wiping off surfaces, etc., counsels’ proffered evidence leads us to believe that the towels’ principle use is for general cleaning, and not for grooming. Therefore, we find the subject towels are not ejusdem generis within the enumerated articles of heading 6302.

In sum, based on the foregoing, we conclude that the merchandise is classifiable within heading 6307, HTSUSA.


The protest should be ALLOWED. The subject towels are classifiable in subheading 6307.10.1090, HTSUSA, which provides for other floorcloths, dishcloths, dusters and similar cleaning. At the time of entry, the duty rate applicable to goods classified in this subheading was 4.3 percent ad valorem.

In accordance with the Protest/Petition Processing Handbook (CIS HB, January 2002, pp. 18 and 21), you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director

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