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March 30, 1999

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:2:230 D88381


TARIFF NO.: 4403.20.0042

Mr. Joseph S. Kaplan
Ross & Hardies
65 East 55th St.
New York, NY 10022-3219

RE: The tariff classification of roughly squared logs from Canada

Dear Mr. Kaplan:

In your letter dated March 3, 1999, on behalf of Forest Product Sales Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling. The ruling was requested for prospective importations of SPF logs roughly squared by sawing. Photographs showing the processing of logs to be imported were submitted. Whole logs are roughly squared one side at a time by passing the logs through a head saw. The rough squaring leaves bark and wane remaining on the edges of the log. The amount of bark and wane varies depending on the size and taper of the original log. The purpose of the sawing is to facilitate the handling and transportion of the logs. Other than rough sawing once on each side, no other processing is done. Smaller logs are rough sawn on only two sides. Logs of similar size are banded together. The slabs of bark and sapwood that are removed from the logs in the sawing process are burned.

The photographs show roughly squared whole logs with bark remaining on most corners. Some logs have more bark on uneven sides. The logs reflect the condition of the original tree trunk.

Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’s). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be first determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 4403, HTSUS, provides for:

Wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark or sapwood, or roughly squared.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN) provide a commentary on the scope of each heading. The ENs, although not dispositive or legally binding, may be consulted when determining the classification of a product under a particular heading (T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, August 23, 1989).

The EN to heading 4403, HTSUS, state in pertinent part:

This heading includes timber in the natural state as felled, usually with the branches lopped off, and such timber stripped of its outer and inner bark or from which merely the rough protuberances have been removed. It also includes wood from which the waste outer layers, consisting of the most recent growths (sapwood), have been removed for economy in transport or to prevent decay.

This heading also includes roughly squared wood which consists of trunks or sections of trunks of trees, the round surfaces of which have been reduced to flat surfaces by means of axe or adze, or by coarse sawing, to form wood roughly rectangular (including square) cross-section; roughly squared wood is characterized by the presence of rough areas or bark traces.

The squared logs being imported conform to the description in the EN of wood classifiable in heading 4403. They consist of timber, as felled, which have been roughly squared by coarse sawing and which have bark traces and wane remaining on the edges.

The species of wood of the logs is SPF, a mixture of spruce, pine and fir. Classification of mixtures is governed by GRI 3. When not specifically provided for and when the essential character of the mixture cannot be determined, GRI 3(c) directs that the mixture be classified under the heading (or subheading) which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

The applicable tariff provision for the roughly squared SPF logs will be 4403.20.0042, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark or sapwood, or roughly squared; other (than treated), coniferous; logs and timber; other fir. The general rate of duty will be Free.

In the event it is determined that the imported goods are not being manufactured 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 CFR 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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