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NY B86054

July 2, 1997

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:SP:230 B86054


TARIFF NO.: 4409.10.9040; 4421.90.9840

Mr. Stephen W. Marlow
Tower Group International
205 West Service Road
Champlain, NY 12919

RE: The tariff classification of wood boards used in the manufacture of box springs, from Canada.

Dear Mr. Marlow:

In your letters dated February 13 and June 2, 1997, on behalf of your client, Fenclo Limited (Fabreville, PQ, Canada), you requested a tariff classification ruling.

Although you have identified the product in question as a "bed frame kit" made entirely from spruce lumber, we find that description to be somewhat misleading. Your client has confirmed that the kit is actually a collection of boards used to construct a frame for a box spring (mattress support).

A sample representing the product as it will be imported was submitted and will be retained for reference. It consists of 12 solid wood boards, all about 18 mm thick, strapped together as a kit. Eight of the boards have square-cut ends, and have one bullnosed edge and one square-cut edge. These square-ended boards range from 4 to 6 cm in width and from 82 to 94 cm in length. The remaining four boards have radius-cut ends, meaning that one corner of each end is fully rounded. These radius-cut boards range from 6 to 8 1/2 cm in width and 94 to 188 cm in length.

Following importation, the above-described pieces will be placed on a work table, arranged into the proper configuration and stapled together to form a framework. Springs will then be put onto the frame, and finally the whole unit will be covered with textile fabric to complete the box spring.

Your client believes that the imported kit should be classified under subheading 9403.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for wooden furniture of a kind used in the bedroom, or under subheading 9403.90, which provides for parts of furniture. However, we must point out that since box springs are not classifiable as furniture in heading 9403, it follows that components or parts for their construction cannot logically be included therein.

Box springs are classifiable as "mattress supports" in subheading 9404.10, HTS. But since the instant kit, in its imported condition, does not have the essential character of a box spring, it cannot be classified (with reference to General Rule of Interpretation 2 (a), HTS) in that provision as an incomplete and/or unassembled mattress support. Furthermore, heading 9404 does not provide for "parts."

The question might also arise as to whether the merchandise could be considered a GRI 3 "set" classifiable in a single subheading of chapter 44, HTS. One of the requirements for such sets is that they must consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity. The instant kit fails to meet this requirement because each of its pieces is merely a part of a box spring. Each piece is not an article that carries out or helps in a common activity. In fact, there is no common activity. Thus, the kit is not a GRI 3 "set."

The construction of a frame is only a step in the manufacture of a box spring. Each imported board is therefore only a part of a box spring. Since the ultimate product being manufactured is a box spring, the imported boards do not represent an unassembled product, and cannot be considered an "unassembled article of wood" of heading 4421, HTS. (The only viable "product" here is a box spring, and, as we have already noted, the imported kit fails to qualify as an unassembled or unfinished box spring.)

Accordingly, we find that the pieces of wood comprising the kit must be classified in Chapter 44, HTS, based on their physical characteristics. For tariff purposes, the presence of two basic types (i.e., some with a continuously shaped edge and square-cut ends, others with worked ends) results in two separate classifications.

The applicable subheading for the boards having a bullnosed edge and square-cut ends will be 4409.10.9040, HTS, which provides for other (than certain enumerated) coniferous wood...continuously shaped...along any of its edges or faces, whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed. The general rate of duty will be free.

The applicable subheading for the radius-cut (end worked) boards will be 4421.90.9840, HTS, which provides for other (non-enumerated) articles of wood. The general rate of duty will be 4%.

Articles classifiable under subheading 4409.10.9040, HTS, which are products of Canada are subject to entry requirements based on the U.S./ Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement of 1996. All invoices of such articles must be annotated with the Canadian province of manufacture. If manufactured in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia or Alberta, a permit number is required.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177). It is limited to the specific set of facts presented herein, and will not necessarily be valid in the event of any changes.

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Paul Garretto, at (212) 466-5779.


Gwenn Klein Kirschner

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