CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950794 CAB

District Director of Customs
Thomas P. O'Neil, Jr. Federal Bldg.
10 Causeway Street
Boston, MA 02222-1059

RE: Request for Further Review of Protest 0401-91-100166, Dated March 27, 1991, Concerning the Classification of Bed Sheet Sets

Dear Sir:

This ruling is on the protest that was filed against your decision regarding the classification of bed sheet sets. Our ruling on the matter follows.


The merchandise are bed sheet sets imported from Romania by McCarthy International. The sets are comprised of sheets and pillowcases. The sets were entered under the cotton provision, however the invoice indicates a component material breakdown of 50% polyester woven fabric and 50% cotton.

The Customs laboratory tested the sets and determined that polyester was the material which predominates by weight. In turn, the importer had the bed sets tested by an independent lab, Consumer Testing Laboratories, Inc., and those test results indicated that cotton comprised the chief weight of the merchandise.

The importer contends that the independent test results are more accurate than those of Customs laboratory. The importer bases this contention on the fact that the independent lab employed the ASTM D 1909-86 test, while Customs lab employed the AATCC test method 20A.


What is the proper classification of the merchandise in question?


Imported goods are classifiable according to the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter notes." Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs, taken in order.

Subheading Note 2, Section XI, HTSUSA, provides:

(A) Products of chapters 56 to 63 containing two or more textile materials are to be regarded as consisting wholly of that textile material which would be selected under note 2 to this section for the classification of a product of chapters 50 to 55 consisting of the same textile materials.

Note 2(A), Section XI, to which Subheading Note 2(A) refers provides:

(A) Goods classifiable in chapters 50 to 55 or in heading 5809 or 5902 and of a mixture of two or more textile materials are to be classified as if consisting wholly of that one textile material which predominates by weight over each other single textile material.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 082946 of December 9, 1988, we stated that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, classification...of a 50% cotton and a 50% man-made blended fabric would be based on GRI 3(c) and require duty payment based on the subheading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

In HRL 082863 of October 3, 1988, we determined that if a question arises as to which fiber predominates by weight, the merchandise may, in the discretion of the classifying officer, be submitted to a Customs laboratory for analysis and classified in accordance with the results of that analysis. In this instance, the bed sheet sets were submitted to a Customs laboratory and the results indicated that polyester predominates by weight.

The burden of proof rests with the importer to overcome the presumption that Customs has the expertise and knowledge to use standard methods and analysis techniques to obtain accurate results. The test methods used by both labs were similar and standard for the industry. All samples were taken from the shipment, and both Customs and the importer had two tests done. Despite the fact that the importer submitted an independent lab report that conflicted with Customs' finding, the importer still did not prove that the Customs lab report was invalid.


The subject merchandise is properly classified under subheading 6302.22, HTSUSA, other bed linen printed: of man-made fibers. The bed sheets are classified under subheading 6302.22.2010, and the pillowcases under subheading 6302.22.2020. The applicable rate of duty is 77.5% ad valorem, and the textile category is 666.

The protest should be denied. A copy of the this decision should be furnished to the protestant with the Form 19 notice of action.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division