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NY D80128

June 8, 2000

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:SP:230 D80128


TARIFF NO.: 4421.90.9840

Mr. Rodney Ralston
Trans-Border Customs Services, Inc.
PO Box 800
Champlain, NY 12919

RE: The tariff classification of “pallet risers” (notched lumber) from Canada.

Dear Mr. Ralston:

In your letter dated July 9, 1998, on behalf of your client, Taiga Forest Products Ltd. (Burnaby, B.C., Canada), you requested a tariff classification ruling. We regret that our reply was delayed by an ongoing review of the classification of certain trade-sensitive wood products.

The ruling was requested on items described as “pallet risers,” which are cut-to-size and shaped wooden boards (known in the pallet industry as stringers) intended to be assembled, along with other component parts, into complete pallets. In your letter, they are described as pieces of 2 x 4 lumber, 36 and 48 inches in length, notched on the bottom edge for ease of fork-lift use once the pallet is made. A diagram accompanying your inquiry depicts a wooden board in which two notches have been cut on one of the edges, equidistant from the two ends. Each notch is 1-1/2 inches deep by 8 inches wide.

The competing provisions for the subject merchandise 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, that is, 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 “pallet risers” 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 “pallet risers” will be 4421.90.9840, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for other (non-enumerated) articles of wood. The general rate of duty will be 3.3%.

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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