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NY C85642

June 26, 2000

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:SP:230 C85642


TARIFF NO.: 4415.20.8000; 4421.90.9840; 4407.10.00

Mr. John C. Maximenko
Sound Structures & Supply Ltd.
Box 282
Christina Lake, B.C. V0H 1E0

RE: The tariff classification of softwood pallets, stringers and lumber from Canada.

Dear Mr. Maximenko:

In your letter dated March 5, 1998, you requested a tariff classification ruling on five products which your firm would like to export to the United States. We regret that our reply was delayed by an ongoing review of the classification of certain trade-sensitive wood products.

Item #1 is described as “softwood pallets assembled.” These are assumed to be conventional, ready-to-use wooden load-board products.

The applicable subheading for the assembled softwood pallets will be 4415.20.8000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for pallets, box-pallets and other load boards, other than containers designed for use in the harvesting of fruits and vegetables. The general rate of duty will be 10.7%. (Products classifiable in this subheading are not currently subject to the U.S.-Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement.)

Item #2 is described as “softwood notched stringers,” as shown in photographs accompanying your inquiry. Each photo shows a notched wood board intended for use in pallet making. The two wide notches on the same edge of each board are designed to accommodate the blades of a fork-lift truck.

The competing provisions for the notched stringers are as follows:

Heading 4407, HTSUS,
Heading 4415, HTSUS, and
Heading 4421, HTSUS.

Heading 4407, HTSUS, provides for sawn wood. According to the Explanatory Notes (EN’s), which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, the wood and timber of heading 4407 “includes sawn beams, planks, flitches, boards, laths, etc. ...”

Heading 4415, HTSUS, provides (in pertinent part) for “pallets, box pallets and other load boards of wood.” Load boards are defined in the EN’s of heading 44.15 as “portable platforms for the assembly of a quantity of goods to form a unit load for handling, transportation and storage by mechanical appliances.” A pallet is defined as a “load board consisting of two decks separated by bearers or a single deck supported by feet and designed essentially for handling by means of fork-lift trucks or pallet trucks.”

When classifying merchandise, it is pivotal that we determine the identity of the subject product, in condition as imported, that is, to what specific class or kind of goods it belongs. Moreover, a tariff classification controlled by use (other than actual use) is to be determined in accordance with the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation, of goods of that class or kind to which the imported goods belong, and the controlling use is the principal use. (See Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1.(a).)

The subject wood boards have notches which have been sized and placed specifically to accommodate fork-lift blades. The length of each stringer is specific to the size of the pallet, e.g., a 3-foot or a 4-foot pallet. Thus the wooden pallet stringers, in condition as imported, are dedicated for use as integral and functional components of pallets.

We find that at this time the subject stringers belong to that class or kind of goods which are principally used as wood pallet components. However, the subject products must be assembled with numerous other parts to form a complete pallet (and do not, in and of themselves, have the essential character of a complete pallet). Moreover, heading 4415, HTSUS, does not provide for parts of the enumerated products. Therefore, the instant goods cannot be classified in heading 4415, HTSUS.

We must finally resort to heading 4421, which provides for “other articles of wood.” According to the EN’s, this heading covers, among other things, “wooden parts of the articles specified or included in the preceding headings, other than those of heading 4416.” Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the “softwood notched stringers” will be 4421.90.9840, HTSUS, which provides for other (non-enumerated) articles of wood. The general rate of duty will be 3.3%. (Products classifiable in this subheading are not currently subject to the U.S.-Canadian Softwood Lumber Agreement.)

Item #3 consists of chamfered wood boards of various sizes. Your inquiry does not contain enough information for us to classify these products. Please submit a sample and explain the purpose of the chamfer.

Item #4 is described as “cut 1x4 and 1x6, 40 inches to 48 inches in length for the pallet industry.” It is assumed these will be solid softwood boards of rectangular cross section, with square-cut edges and ends.

The applicable subheading for the 1x4 and 1x6 softwood boards will be 4407.10.00, HTSUS, 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. The general rate of duty will be free.

Articles classifiable in subheading 4407.10.00, HTSUS, 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.

Item #5 consists of “pallet kits” (unassembled pallets). Your inquiry does not contain enough information for us to classify these products. Please provide a complete, detailed description of the kits, including:
a) the quantity of each component, and how they will be grouped/packed, b) how each component has been processed, c) size of each component, as imported, d) what remains to be done in the U.S. after importation, e) size of pallets.

Your letter also raises several questions regarding entry procedures, including issues involving filing location, bond requirements, use of customs brokers, etc. We believe it would be best for you to discuss these matters with officials at a U.S. Customs office near you. The Blaine, Washington office can be reached at (360) 332-4475.

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 therein, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

This ruling is being issued under the assumption that the subject goods, in their condition as imported into the United States, conform to the facts and the description as set forth both in the ruling request and in this ruling. 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 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.

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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