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HQ 088961

June 13, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088961 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 4420.90.8000

Ms. Patricia Blasdel
Ikea, Inc
Plymouth Commons
Plymouth Meeting, Pa. 19462

RE: Shelf, wood

Dear Ms. Blasdel:

In a letter dated February 8, 1991, you inquired as to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of an EDE wood shelf manufactured in China, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. A sample wood shelf, article no. 856-871-09, was submitted for examination.


The sample is a wood knickknack shelf which measures 11-


Is the wood knickknack shelf classifiable as furniture under Chapter 94, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]." In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

Legal Note (LN) 2 to Chapter 94, HTSUSA, reads as follows:

2. The articles (other than parts) referred to in headings 9401 to 9403 are to be classified in those headings
only if they are designed for placing on the floor or ground.

The following are, however, to be classified in the above-mentioned headings even if they are designed to be hung, to be fixed to the wall or to stand one on the other:

(a) Cupboards, bookcases, other shelved furniture and unit furniture;

(b) Seats and beds.

LN 2 to Chapter 94, set forth above, excludes from headings 9401 to 9403 articles not designed to be placed on the floor or ground, but allows certain exceptions to this exclusion. One of these exceptions, provided for in subparagraph (a) above is "other shelved furniture." Thus, if the wood shelf in issue meets the definition of "other shelved furniture," it is not barred from classification as furniture in Chapter 94, HTSUSA.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 083435, Customs stated that the term "other shelved furniture" is subject to at least two interpretations. The first requires that an item which is in and of itself "furniture" have the additional feature of being equipped, fitted or otherwise furnished with shelves, to be "shelved furniture." The second interpretation of the term "shelved furniture" includes furniture that is itself no more than a shelf in the definition of "shelved furniture." The exceptions to the exclusion of Note 2 are intended to allow classification under headings 9401 to 9403 of shelf-type furniture and modular or unit-type furniture, all of which are intended to be supported by walls or placed on other furniture rather than placed on the floor or ground. Customs then concluded that the latter interpretation of the term "shelved furniture"," which includes furniture which is itself no more than a shelf is the correct interpretation.

In HRL 084820 Customs endorsed the interpretation of the term "shelved furniture" set out in HRL 083435 and ruled that certain wood shelves and particle board shelves with metal brackets are classifiable under subheading 9403.60.8080, HTSUSA, as other wooden furniture, other, other.

It is now our position that our prior interpretation of the phrase "other shelved furniture" is not correct. Consequently,

LN 2(a) to Chapter 94, HTSUSA, should be interpreted as follows:

Only articles which are "furniture" similar to cupboards and bookcases in that they are substantial articles having the essential characteristic that they are used to equip a home, office, etc., and incorporate shelves in their construction, whether or not they are designed to be hung or fixed to the wall, are classifiable as "furniture" under heading 9403, HTSUSA.

The detailed rationale for this change in position is explained in HRL 088958 of this date issued to you.

In view of the change in the interpretation of the phrase "other shelved furniture," it is our opinion that the wood shelf with a wood knob board is precluded from classification as furniture under Chapter 94, HTSUSA. Consequently, it is classifiable as wooden articles of furniture not falling within Chapter 94, under subheading 4420.90.8000, HTSUSA.


The wood shelf with a wood knob board, article no. 856-871- 09, is dutiable under subheading 4420.90.8000, HTSUSA, at the rate of 5.1 percent ad valorem, if manufactured in China or Czechoslovakia. If a product of Bulgaria, the shelf is dutiable at the rate of 33-1/3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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