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HQ 955712

April 20, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955712 BC


TARIFF NO.: 4418.90.4090

David Ballard
Assistant District Director
U.S. Customs Service
U.S. Customhouse
Interstate 87
Champlain, New York 12919

RE: Application for further review of protest no. 0712-93- 101343; classification of wood flooring; edge worked; end worked; tongued and grooved

Dear Mr. Ballard:

This is a decision on an application for further review of a protest timely filed by A.N. Deringer, Inc. The protest objects to your decision regarding the classification of wood flooring.


The merchandise at issue are solid hardwood boards used as flooring in buildings and homes. Two samples were submitted with the protest. The sample boards have been tongued and grooved on the edges and ends and have two grooves running the length of the bottom surface (or underside). They measure approximately 3/4 of an inch thick by 2 and 1/4 inches wide. The flooring at issue comes in various lengths, while the samples are 14 and 1/4 and 11 and 1/8 inches long. According to brochures submitted with the samples, the flooring is pre-finished at the factory and surface finished with several coats of polyurethane. It may also be stained.

The flooring was entered under subheading 4409.20.2560, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for nonconiferous wood flooring (including strips and friezes for parquet flooring, not assembled) continuously shaped (tongued, grooved, rebated, chamfered, V-jointed, beaded, molded, rounded or the like) along any of its edges or faces, whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed. Customs classified the flooring under subheading 4418.90.4090, HTSUSA, which provides for other builders' joinery and carpentry of wood.


Is wood flooring that has been tongued and grooved on the edges and the ends classifiable under heading 4409, HTSUSA, or heading 4418, HTSUSA?


On March 24, 1993, we issued a protest decision that classified hardwood flooring substantially similar to the flooring at issue. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 952940 involved oak boards measuring 1/2 inch thick by 2 and 1/4 or 3 and 1/4 inches wide by 21 and 1/4 or 31 and 1/4 inches long that were tongued and grooved on both the edges and the ends. They were entered as flooring under subheading 4409.20.2560, HTSUSA, and Customs classified them under subheading 4418.90.4090, HTSUSA. In our protest decision, we cited the Explanatory Notes (EN's) for heading 4409, which provide, in part, the following (see EN's, Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Vol. 2, p.629):

This heading covers timber, particularly in the form of boards, planks, etc., which, after sawing or squaring, has been continuously shaped along any of its edges or faces either to facilitate subsequent assembly or to obtain the moldings or beadings described . . . below, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, e.g., finger-jointed [emphasis added].

The EN's use of the terms "edges" and "faces" is significant. Its exclusion of the term "ends" makes it clear that the heading includes boards that have been worked along the edges or faces but not along the ends. This conclusion is supported later in the same EN where the following is provided:

The heading also excludes:

(b) Wood which has been mortised or tenoned, dovetailed or similarly worked at the ends and wood assembled into panels being builders' carpentry or joinery (underlining added).

Thus, in HRL 952940, we stated the following: "The heading thus specifically provides for wood which is continuously worked (shaped) along any of its edges or faces; it is silent on wood which is worked along the ends. Wood which is worked along the ends is beyond the scope of this heading."

As in HRL 952940, the flooring at issue here has been tongued and grooved on both the edges and the ends. Therefore, it is not classifiable under heading 4409, HTSUSA. Heading 4418, HTSUSA, provides generally for woodwork used in the construction of buildings of any kind, including some flooring such as parquet panels. Since the flooring at issue is excluded from classification in heading 4409, HTSUSA, it is classifiable in heading 4418, HTSUSA, which describes it more accurately than any other heading of Chapter 44.


This protest is DENIED. The boards at issue, described as flooring tongued and grooved on the edges and ends, are classifiable in subheading 4418.90.4090, HTSUSA, which provides for other builders' joinery and carpentry of wood. The applicable duty rate is 5.1% ad valorem.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office to the PROTESTANT no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, Freedom of Information Act, and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

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