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HQ 952711

April 20, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952711 BC


TARIFF NO.: 4421.90.9040

District Director of Customs
U.S. Customs Service
101 E. Main Street
Norfolk, Virginia 23510

RE: Application for further review of protest no. 1401-92- 100100; classification of wood library shelf ladders; Explanatory Note (EN) to heading 94.03; EN to Chapter 94; EN to heading 44.21; ladders not having the character of furniture; subheading 9403.60.8080, HTSUSA

Dear Sir:

This responds to the referenced application for further review of protest no. 1401-92-100100, dated July 13, 1992. We have reviewed the protest and our response follows.


The merchandise at issue are wood library shelf ladders designed for book searching along library shelves. We understand that the ladders have rollers on the bottom and the top and are attached at the top to a bar which is connected either to the shelves or the wall supporting the shelves. The ladders can be moved and positioned along the length of the shelves for ease in retrieving books and other materials.

The merchandise was entered on January 29, 1992, and was classified as other articles of wood under subheading 4421.90.9040, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The protest was timely filed on July 13, 1992. PROTESTANT contends that the merchandise should be classified as other wooden furniture, other, other under subheading 9403.60.8080, HTSUSA.


What is the proper classification of the wood library shelf ladders, 4421.90.9040, HTSUSA, or 9403.60.8080, HTSUSA? LAW AND ANALYSIS:

The classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) applied, as appropriate, in sequential order. General Rule of Interpretation 1 provides that classification is determined in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. Aiding in the classification of merchandise are the Explanatory Notes (EN's) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. The EN's constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While they are not legally binding, they are consulted for guidance and accorded appropriate weight in making classification determinations. (See Treasury Decision (T.D.) 89-80, 23 Cust. Bull. 379 (1989), 54 Fed. Reg. 35,127 (August 23, 1989).)

PROTESTANT contends that the ladders should be classified under heading 9403, HTSUSA. Chapter 94, HTSUSA, covers furniture, among other articles. Heading 9403, HTSUSA, covers other furniture and parts thereof. The EN's to heading 94.03 provide the following (p. 1579):

The heading does not include:

(b) Ladders and steps, trestles, carpenters' benches and the like not having the character of furniture; these are classified according to their constituent material (headings
44.21, 73.26, etc.)

The General EN's to Chapter 94 (p. 1574) provide that "the term 'furniture' does not apply to articles used as furniture but designed for placing on other furniture or shelves or for hanging on walls or from the ceiling." (There are exceptions to this provision that are inapplicable here.)

The ladders at issue, being attached to the shelves or the wall supporting the shelves, are not considered "furniture" for purposes of Chapter 94, HTSUSA. Consequently, by virtue of the above quoted EN to heading 94.03, the ladders are not covered in heading 9403, HTSUSA, and are classified according to constituent material. This places them under heading 4421, HTSUSA, covering other articles of wood. See the EN's for heading 44.21, wherein the following is provided (p. 639):

The heading includes:

(3) Theatrical scenery, joiners' benches, ladders and steps, . . .

Based on the foregoing, we conclude that the classification of the ladders under subheading 4421.90.9040, HTSUSA, was correct and this protest should be denied.


The wood library shelf ladders at issue are classifiable as other articles of wood under subheading 4421.90.9040, HTSUSA. You are directed to deny this protest. A copy of this ruling should be attached to the Customs Form 19, Notice of Action, provided to PROTESTANT.


John Durant, Director

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