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NY E88230

October 26, 1999

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:2:230 E88230


TARIFF NO.: 4412.14.0540

Mr. David R. Perreault
Great Lakes Customs Brokerage, Inc.
85 River Rock Drive, Suite 202
Buffalo, NY 14207

RE: The tariff classification of end glued birch plywood; country of origin marking of Russian plywood end glued in Canada; Article 509.

Dear Mr. Perreault:

In your letter dated September 28, 1999, on behalf of your client, Nefab Midwest, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The ruling was requested on Russian birch plywood that has been end glued in Canada. Two sheets of five ply 6 mm thick plywood measuring 5 ft by 5 ft are glued together along one end to form a longer sheet of plywood measuring about 5 ft by 9-1/2 ft. The ends that are joined together are first chamfered (cut at an angle across the end) 65 mm into the board. The chamfered ends are fitted and glued together with a melamine urea formaldehyde resin.

The purpose of the glueing is to make a longer sheet of plywood. The process of joining two sheets of plywood together, end to end, does not change the character or use of the product. It is still commercially known as plywood. Moreover, it answers to the definition of plywood provided for in the Explanatory Notes (EN) of heading 4412. The EN provide a commentary on the scope of each heading. The EN, 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 applicable subheading for the end glued birch plywood will be 4412.14.0540, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood; plywood consisting solely of sheets of wood, each ply not exceeding 6 mm in thickness; other, with at least one outer ply of nonconiferous wood; not surface covered; with a face ply of birch (Betula spp.); other. The rate of duty will be Free.

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

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

The country of origin marking requirements for a "good of a NAFTA country" are also determined in accordance with Annex 311 of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), as implemented by section 207 of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat 2057) (December 8, 1993) and the appropriate Customs Regulations. The Marking Rules used for determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country are contained in Part 102, Customs Regulations. The marking requirements of these goods are set forth in Part 134, Customs Regulations.

Section 134.1(b) of the regulations, defines "country of origin" as
the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the "country of origin" within this part; however, for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin. (Emphasis added).

You state that the imported Russian birch plywood is processed in a NAFTA country “Canada" prior to being imported into the U.S. Since "Canada" is defined under 19 CFR 134.1(g), as a NAFTA country, we must first apply the NAFTA Marking Rules in order to determine whether the imported plywood is a "good of a NAFTA country", and thus subject to the NAFTA marking requirements.

Part 102 of the regulations, sets forth the "NAFTA Marking Rules" for purposes of determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country for marking purposes. Section 102.11 of the regulations, sets forth the required hierarchy for determining country of origin for marking purposes.

Applying the NAFTA Marking Rules set forth in Part 102 of the regulations to the facts of this case, we find that the imported end glued plywood does not undergo the applicable change in tariff classification as required by section 102.20 of the regulations. Consequently, the birch plywood remains a good of a non-NAFTA country “Russia” for marking purposes.

This marking ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 181).

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.

Should you wish to request an administrative review of this ruling, submit a copy of this ruling and all relevant facts and arguments within 30 days of the date of this letter, to the Director, Commercial Rulings Division, Headquarters, U.S. Customs Service, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229.


Robert B. Swierupski

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