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NY D86183

September 24, 1999

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:SP:230 D86183


TARIFF NO.: 4407.10.0015; 4415.10.9000

Mr. Robert A. DeCamp
Livingston International, Inc.
P.O. Box 2850
Champlain, N.Y. 12919

RE: The tariff classification of unassembled wooden crate components from Canada.

Dear Mr. DeCamp:

In your letter dated December 14, 1998, on behalf of Sawn Wood Products, Inc. (Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada), you requested a tariff classification ruling. We regret that our response was delayed by an ongoing review of the classification of lumber products.

The goods in question are pre-cut pieces of SPF wood which, following importation, will function as component parts of one-time use crates intended for the packing of lettuce or other fresh produce. Based on diagrams accompanying your inquiry, it appears that the crates will be of a kind in which produce is shipped to retail supermarkets and the like. They will have a framework made of wooden boards, with the sides, ends, bottom and top consisting of thinner wooden slats having open spaces between them.

You state that each crate, after being completed in the United States, will consist of 26 individual pieces of wood plus nails. Your letter requests a ruling for the wood pieces under three different importation scenarios, identified as Plans A, B and C.

In Plan A, only 8 of the 26 wood pieces will be imported. Four pieces will be 1 1/2" x 1 1/16" x 11 1/8" boards, while the other four pieces will be 1 1/2" x 1 1/16" x 18 1/4" boards. When assembled in the proper configuration, these eight boards will form two rectangular frames, one for each end of the crate. It is assumed that all of the boards will have square-cut edges and ends. You estimate that the eight boards imported in this plan will constitute only about 24% of the overall value of the crate. The applicable subheading for the boards as imported in Plan A will be 4407.10.0015, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed, of a thickness exceeding 6 mm: coniferous...not treated: mixtures of spruce, pine and fir (AS-P-F@). The rate of duty will be free.

Articles classifiable in subheading 4407.10.0015, 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 is required.

In Plan B, importations will consist of the eight boards of Plan A plus nine wooden slats, each measuring 5/16" x 2 1/2" x 23 1/4". The nine slats will eventually form the non-continuous side and bottom “panels” of the crate. (Three will go on each of the two sides, and three will go on the bottom.) The 17 pieces will thus be capable of being assembled into an incomplete crate which lacks only its end and top “panels.” You estimate that the items imported in Plan B will constitute about 66% of the finished container’s overall cost.

In Plan C, importations will consist of the 17 pieces of Plan B plus six wooden slats which ultimately will form the crate’s end “panels.” The end slats will include four 3/16" x 2 5/8" x 13 1/2" pieces (two used on each end, as the upper and lower slats) and two 3/16" x 5 1/2" x 13 1/2" pieces (one used on each end, as the wider middle slat). The 23 pieces will thus be capable of being assembled into an incomplete crate which lacks only its top “panel” (which will consist of three additional slats to be furnished after importation). You estimate that the items imported in Plan C will constitute about 89% of the finished container’s overall cost.

You note that in all scenarios, the wood pieces will be imported strictly in proportional quantities intended to ultimately make a specified number of crates. Shipments will not include any extraneous pieces. Nails (used to fasten the wood pieces to each other during assembly) will not be imported under any of the plans.

We agree with your assertion that, in accordance with General Rule of Interpretation 2(a) of the HTS, the imported products in Plans B and C are incomplete, unassembled crates having the essential character of finished containers and thus classifiable as such. However, we disagree with the HTS subheading you propose, 4415.10.6000, which provides for certain wooden packing containers designed for use in the harvesting of fruits and vegetables. As noted earlier, the instant containers are of a kind used well beyond harvesting operations, i.e., in the transport of produce to retail establishments. Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the wood pieces as imported in Plans B and C will be 4415.10.9000, HTS, which provides for other (than certain enumerated) cases, boxes, crates, drums and similar packings, of wood. The general rate of duty will be 10.7%.

In the event it is determined that the imported goods are not being manufactured and/or presented exactly as described in this ruling, the ruling will not be applicable to those goods. You should also be aware that the facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by the Customs Service.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

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 212-637-7009.


Robert B. Swierupski

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