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HQ 963396

March 28, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 963396 jb


TARIFF NO.: 4407.10.0002

Jack Wigen
Wynndel Box & Lumber Co. Ltd.
P.O. Box 40
Wynndel, BC Canada

RE: Classification of fascia components

Dear Mr. Wigen:

This is in response to your letter, dated July 8, 1999, regarding the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), for certain fascia components. Samples were submitted to this office for review.


In your letter you describe the subject merchandise as follows:

Our facia products are carefully selected for appearance and aesthetic purposes after being remanufactured to a uniform 7/8” x 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 inch widths. The face of our trim is clawed, imparting a sawn or pulled grain look and then further machined by a light wire brushing resulting in its unique appearance. To further add to its value, it is passed through a state-of-the-art pre-finishing line where a thermal coating is applied and baked on to further our resolve in producing a unique quality facia component system.

It is your opinion that your products are to be distinguished from the rougher header (fascia) lumber that was the subject of a revocation notice, published in the Customs Bulletin, dated June 9, 1999, Vol. 33, No.22/23, and reclassified under heading 4407, HTSUS, in the provision for general lumber.

Accordingly, you are asking that this office review the submitted merchandise and find that the proper classification for your fascia components are in heading 4418, HTSUS, which provides for, among other things, builder’s joinery and carpentry of wood.


What is the proper classification for the subject merchandise?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

Chapter 44, HTSUS, provides for, among other things, wood and articles of wood. This chapter is structured so that less processed wood appears at the beginning of the chapter followed by more advanced wood in later headings within the same chapter. Thus, for example, heading 4403, HTSUS, is a general provision for wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark or sapwood or roughly squared, and heading 4421, HTSUS, is a basket provision for more advanced articles of wood that cannot be classified elsewhere in the chapter.

As heading 4407 resides at the beginning of Chapter 44, HTSUS, it reflects coverage of a relatively basic category of lumber products in relation to heading 4418, which, residing closer to the end of Chapter 44, HTSUS, reflects coverage of a relatively more advanced category of products. Heading 4407, HTSUS, provides for wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed, of a thickness exceeding 6mm. The Explanatory Notes to the Commodity Description and Coding System (EN) to heading 4407, HTSUS, state in relevant part:

The products of this heading may be planed (whether or not the angle formed by two adjacent sides is slightly rounded during the planing process), sanded, or end-jointed, e.g. finger-jointed (see the General Explanatory Note to this Chapter).

Heading 4418, provides for, among other things, builder’s joinery and carpentry of wood. The EN to heading 4418, HTSUS, state in pertinent part:

This heading applies to woodwork, including that of wood marquetry or inlaid wood, used in the construction of any kind of building, etc., in the form of assembled goods or as recognizable unassembled pieces

(e.g., prepared with tenons, mortises, dovetails or other similar joints for assembly), whether or not with their metal fittings such as hinges, locks, etc.

The term "joinery" applies more particularly to builders' fittings (such as doors, windows, shutters, stairs, door or window frames), whereas the term "carpentry" refers to woodwork (such as beams, rafters and roof struts) used for structural purposes or in scaffoldings, arch supports, etc., and includes assembled shuttering for concrete constructional work. ...

As we stated in Headquarters Ruling Letters (HQ) 961208 and 962715, dated June 1, 1999:
the tariff issue to be resolved, therefore, is whether the process of planing these boards through a broken knife planer causes these articles to be considered as one of the relatively advanced articles provided for under heading 4418, HTSUS, that is, “builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood.” Upon further analysis of the competing tariff provisions, we do not believe that subjecting these boards to such a process is sufficient to change their classification.

Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a) provides that in the absence of context to the contrary, a tariff classification controlled by use, other than actual use, is to be determined by the principal use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation, of goods of the same class or kind of merchandise.

In E.C. Lineiro v. United States, 37 CCPA 10, CAD 411, (1949), the court stated that "a designation by use may be established, although the word 'use' or 'used' does not appear in the language of the statute." As such, it is the use of the class or kind of merchandise to which the imported article belongs which must be determined, not the use of the instant merchandise.

The seminal issue with respect to the appropriate classification of this merchandise thus centers on the identification of the actual merchandise, that is, to what specific “class” of merchandise does this merchandise actually belong? In other words, what is the identity of this product at the time of importation?

In the case of the subject merchandise, there is nothing in the processing of these boards which would distinguish this merchandise from that class of merchandise recognized in the United States as general lumber. We refer you again to our analysis in HQ 961208 and 962715, wherein we stated:

The dimensions of standard sawn lumber, also commonly referred to as “rough green lumber”, are specific to the final “dressed” lumber size. In the trade, the meaning of “dressed” lumber or “surfaced” lumber, is recognized as lumber which has been planed on at least one side and is ready in its final dimensions. As such, the thickness and width of rough green lumber is larger than the final desired size in order to accommodate the planing of the boards. It thus follows that the process of putting lumber through a broken knife planer results both in bringing rough green lumber to the required dimensions by removing a certain amount of wood, and producing a surface(s) with a rough texture.

It is the position of this office that a broken knife planer, similar to a traditional planer that surfaces lumber to a smooth finish, results in the removal of an appropriate amount of wood in order to achieve the desired lumber size. The distinction between these two types of planers lies in the fact that the latter creates a rough textured surface and not, as in the former case, a smooth finish. However, we emphasize that both types of planing result in the reduction of a board size to produce predetermined dimensions. Accordingly, the subject merchandise falls within the terms of the EN to heading 4407, HTSUS, which encompass products which are planed (whether or not the angle formed by two adjacent sides is slightly rounded during the planing process), sanded, or end-jointed, e.g. finger-jointed.

Although you claim that the subject merchandise is distinguishable from the merchandise addressed in HQ 961208 and 962715, upon close examination of your products we find that they are virtually identical to the merchandise addressed in those rulings. Both the merchandise addressed in HQ 961208 and 962715 and the submitted merchandise consists of boards which are clawed and in some cases, further machined by a light wire brushing, to yield a rough texture. Additionally, in all cases, the merchandise was primed or painted white and principally used as fascia and trim boards in the construction of buildings.

As such, the appropriate classification for this merchandise, similar to the merchandise addressed in HQ 961208 and 962715, is in heading 4407, HTSUS.


The subject rough header lumber is properly classifiable in subheading 4407.10.0002, HTSUS, which provides for wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed, of a thickness exceeding 6mm: coniferous: other: treated with paint, stain, creosote, or other preservative. The applicable rate of general duty is “Free”.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise description as identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in connection with the ruling request and incorporated in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

In the event that the subject goods, in their condition as imported into the United States, do not conform to the facts and the description as set forth both in the ruling request and in this ruling, the subject ruling letter will not be applicable to those goods, and the ruling will be subject to modification or revocation. As such, in the event that the facts or merchandise are modified in any way, you should bring this to the attention of Customs and you should resubmit for a new ruling request in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2. You should also be aware that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by the Customs Service.


John Durant, Director

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