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CIT labels table linens as festive articles

The U.S. Court of International Trade has decided that certain table linens and related products were within the scope of the term "festive articles" for purposes of classification under the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) of the United States.

As a result, certain table linens and related products can be classified under HTS heading 9505, which provides for duty-free treatment.

In the case, Park B. Smith Ltd. vs. United States, the judge determined that certain dhurries, place mats, napkins and table runners were closely associated with a festive occasion, were displayed and used by the consumer only during the festive occasion, and the design styles incorporated "festive symbols and color schemes." As an example, the court held that the linens with a red and green color scheme, are closely associated with Christmas and entitled to be entered duty-free as festive articles.

Robert Leo, of Meeks & Sheppard, counsel to the Home Fashions Product Association, noted that "harvest" themes in orange and brown also were cited as "festive articles." Previously only items such as candles, stockings, and ornaments fell under the "festive articles" designation, he said.

The decision broadens U.S. Customs' current definition of "festive articles" and may be appealed on a number of grounds, Leo added.

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