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NY F86079

May 10, 2000

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:SP:230 F86079


TARIFF NO.: 4409.10.90

Mr. Michael D. Jones
Jones & Jones, L.L.C.
P.O. Box 1889
Blaine, WA 98231-1889

RE: The tariff classification of grooved lumber from Canada.

Dear Mr. Jones:

In your letter dated February 22, 2000, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Vancouver Specialty Cedar Products Ltd.

The items in question are pre-cut, pre-grooved wooden boards of various unidentified species (all assumed to be coniferous). They will be 2x4, 4x4 or intermediate sizes, in lengths ranging (depending on purchase order, but not random) from 40 inches to 10 feet. Each board will have square-cut ends but will have a groove, ¾” to 1” wide and ½” to ¾” deep, running the entire length of one face.

With regard to their use after importation, you state that two or more of the boards, spaced apart from one another and in condition unchanged from their imported state, will be placed (groove side down) on a floor, dock, conveyance or the like, whereupon goods such as plywood sheets or steel mill products will be stacked on top of them. Strapping will then be threaded through one end of each groove, traversing its entire length (the width of the load) and out the other side. The strapping will then be wrapped around the circumference of the stacked goods and cinched tightly to stabilize the load. This arrangement will allow the stacked merchandise to be handled (e.g., by a forklift) as a unit load. The grooves in the wood are intended to ensure that the strapping, boards and load will remain secured to one another during all subsequent handling and shipping.

You are aware of previous Customs rulings (NY B83844 of 4/17/97 and B86507 of 8/18/97) that classified similar grooved boards, imported for similar purposes, in HTS heading 4409, the provision for continuously shaped wood. Nevertheless, you assert that the instant products should be classified in heading 4415, which provides, in pertinent part, for “load boards.” In support of your position, you first cite the Harmonized Explanatory Note (“EN”) for heading 4409, which states that the wood of that heading has been shaped either to facilitate subsequent assembly or to form moldings. You maintain that since the subject boards are final products that do not undergo subsequent assembly, and are not moldings, they are therefore outside the scope of heading 4409. We find, however, that the cited portion of the EN is neither intended to be an all-inclusive statement regarding the purpose of continuous shaping, nor is it legally binding or dispositive. The heading itself (which is legal text) simply calls for continuously shaped wood, and makes no mention of purpose. Furthermore, it encompasses subheadings that enumerate certain products (e.g., dowels and siding) which are not moldings and which are commonly used in applications not involving assembly (or in applications where the reason for the shaping is not primarily related to an assembly process). Such products would not be included within the heading if it were meant to be limited to moldings and to goods prepared specifically for assembly.

You also cite the EN for heading 4415, which defines a “load board” as a portable platform for the assembly of a quantity of goods to form a unit load for handling, transportation and storage by mechanical appliances. You believe that the instant products meet this definition. We find, however, that a close examination of the heading itself and the EN suggests otherwise. The heading provides, in pertinent part, for “pallets, box pallets and other load boards, of wood.” The EN, after defining “load board” (as indicated above) and “pallet” (“a load board consisting of two decks separated by bearers or a single deck supported by feet”), goes on to list other examples of load boards: platforms, post platforms, collar-type box platforms, side-rail platforms and end-rail platforms. This language suggests that a “load board,” as contemplated by the heading, is a “platform” generally consisting of multiple pieces of wood and capable of holding a quantity of merchandise. In our view, a 2x4 (either with or without a groove) cannot reasonably be construed as such a “platform.”

The applicable subheading for the grooved wooden boards will be 4409.10.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (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.

Articles classifiable in subheading 4409.10.90, 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.

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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