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HQ 083795

May 26, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083795 JLJ, 836257


TARIFF NO.: 4418.50.0040

Mr. Dennis L. Holman, Manager
Norman G. Jensen, Inc.
P.O. Box 1450
Blaine, Washington 98230

RE: Classification of Red Cedar "Short Boards"

Dear Mr. Holman:

You requested a tariff classification ruling for a red cedar board imported from Canada for your client, Teal Cedar Products of British Columbia, Canada. You submitted a sample along with your letter.


Similar merchandise has been ruled on previously by Customs Headquarters in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 082694 of April 11, 1989 (copy enclosed). HRL 082694 held that certain Western red cedar "short boards" were classified as unfinished shakes and shingles under the provision for shingles and shakes, of red cedar, in subheading 4418.50.0040, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).

You refer to the instant merchandise as "a red cedar board that has been tapered to form the core of a shingle." In a conversation with our New York office, you explained that, after importation into the United States, the boards are sawn in half across the thickness to produce two complete shingles with no change in width nor in length.

The instant sample is a tapered red cedar board measuring 18-1/4 inches long by approximately 10-11/16 inches wide. It is 7/8 inch (22 millimeters) thick at the butt end (i.e., thick end) and 9/32 inch (7 millimeters) thick at the tip (i.e., thin end).


Are the instant red cedar boards classified as unfinished shakes and shingles?


There is a specific eo nomine provision for shingles and shakes of red cedar in subheading 4418.50.0040, HTSUSA, under Heading 4418, which specifically provides for shingles and shakes.

The Explanatory Notes for Heading 4418, HTSUSA, define a "shingle" as follows:

A shingle is wood sawn lengthwise which is generally thicker than 5 millimeters at one end (the butt) but thinner than 5 millimeters at the other end (the tip). It may have its edges resawn to be parallel; its butt may be resawn to be at right angles to its edges or to form a curve or other shape. One of its faces may be sanded from the butt to the tip or grooved along its length.

The instant merchandise fits within this definition, except that its tip is 7 millimeters, not thinner than 5 millimeters. You argue that the instant merchandise has a tip which is too thick to fit within the definition set forth above. We note that the Explanatory Notes state that a shingle's tip is "generally...thinner than 5 millimeters...." This means that, while a shingle's tip is usually thinner than 5 millimeters, it need not always be thinner than 5 millimeters. We further note that, once the instant merchandise is sawn in half in the United States to make the finished shingle, the tip of the final product will measure only 3-1/2 millimeters, which does fall within the dimensions set forth in the Explanatory Notes.

You cite various other headings as possible classifications for these boards, but only Heading 4418 covers shingles and shakes.

General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 2(a), HTSUSA, states that:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article.***

Given the end use of the instant merchandise and the fact that it is one cutting operation away from being two shingles, we find that the precedent set in HRL 082694 applies to this merchandise also, i.e., that the instant red cedar boards have the essential character of shingles. GRI 2(a) mandates that they be classified as unfinished shingles in subheading 4418.50.0040, HTSUSA, dutiable at the current rate of 20 percent ad valorem under HTSUSA subheading 9903.44.24.


The instant red cedar boards are unfinished shingles and shakes. They are classified in subheading 4418.50.0040, HTSUSA.


John Durant, Director

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