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NY E89886

December 17, 1999

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:SP:230 E89886


TARIFF NO.: 4407.10.0015; 4409.10.9040; 4421.90.9840

Mr. Richard A. Rocco
Livingston International, Inc.
27215 Northline Road
Taylor, MI 48180

RE: The tariff classification of pre-cut lumber for box-spring frames, from Canada.

Dear Mr. Rocco:

In your letter dated October 25, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Donohue Inc. (Quebec City, PQ, Canada).

The goods in question are solid pre-cut S-P-F wooden boards to be imported for assembly into products you identify as “L-frame (or L-brace) foundations,” which actually are frames for box springs. You state that each shipment will contain the proper quantity and combination of boards necessary to assemble a given number of such frames.

After the boards are assembled into the frames in the United States, springs, padding, fabric and other components will be added to make the finished box spring units. It is thus important to note that the imported wood components constitute merely unassembled frames, which in turn are only parts of the finished products (box springs). As such, the wood items in their imported condition do not represent a sufficient number or type of elements required for the finished box spring units, and do not exhibit the essential character of such units. Thus, the imported items cannot be regarded as unassembled box springs or mattress supports.

You note, however, that a previous ruling letter (NY C84284 of March 3, 1998) classified similar box-spring frames as “other articles of wood” (HTS Heading 4421) when such frames were imported in pre-assembled condition. You argue that since the items now under discussion will constitute complete frames but will merely be unassembled when they arrive, they should likewise be classified in heading 4421.

Heading 4421, HTSUS, is a basket category for wood articles not more specifically provided for in Chapter 44, HTSUS. Generally, goods of heading 4421, HTSUS, have been processed, constructed, or assembled from basic materials such as lumber, that is, the materials have been advanced into a new article. Ruling NY C84284 is distinguishable; the merchandise imported in that case was material lumber assembled into a wood frame and used as a part in the construction of a box spring. Since there is no specific provision for such a wood frame in Chapter 44, it is classifiable under the heading 4421, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of wood, that is, the basket category.

In the present case, it is instructive to review General Rule of Interpretation (“GRI”) 2(a) of the HTS which states as follows:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled. (Emphasis supplied)

We find that there is no reference in any of the headings or subheadings of the HTS for “box-spring frames” including in heading 4421. Consequently, GRI 2(a) does not apply in this instance. The result is that the collection of wood boards in question can not be considered an unassembled part of an article, that is, a unassembled part (frame) of a box spring.

In light of the above discussion, the imported wood components will be regarded for tariff purposes simply as a collection of boards classifiable according to their individual physical characteristics.

Partial (end-piece) samples representing the boards, and a diagram showing how they will be assembled after importation, were submitted and will be retained for reference. The dimensions of the boards will vary depending on the box-spring model for which they are intended, but all of them will exceed 6 mm in thickness. We find that for tariff classification purposes, they are of three basic kinds:

1. Boards with a rectangular cross-section, square-cut or eased edges, and square-cut ends. These boards are known as center supports and end fillers.

2. Boards having an L-shaped profile (cross-section) and square-cut ends. These products are known as L-braces.

3. Boards with a rectangular cross-section and radius-cut (fully-rounded) ends. These boards are known as side rails and top rails.

The applicable subheading for the products of group 1 will be 4407.10.0015, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), 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: coniferousnot treated: mixtures of spruce, pine, and fir (“S-P-F”). The rate of duty will be free.

The applicable subheading for the products of group 2 will be 4409.10.9040, HTS, which provides for wood continuously shaped along any of its edges or faces, whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed: coniferous: other. The rate of duty will be free.

The applicable subheading for the products of group 3 will be 4421.90.9840, HTS, which provides for other (non-enumerated) articles of wood. The general rate of duty will be 3.3%.

(Note: All of the above rates of duty will remain unchanged in 2000.)

Articles classifiable in subheadings 4407.10.0015 and 4409.10.9040, HTS, 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.

In the event that the subject goods, when imported into the United States, do not meet the description and the facts set forth in this ruling, the subject ruling letter will not be applicable to those goods. As such, in the event that the merchandise or the facts are modified in any way, you should resubmit for a ruling request to cover the new situation. 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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