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HQ 964565

May 14, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 964565 RH


TARIFF NO.: 4412

Ms. Marie Gamweger
Edelweiss Wood Flooring
C/O Gallagher Transport International, Inc. 2557 South Coors Street
Denver, CO 80228

RE: Revocation of HQ 962031 regarding the tariff classification of laminated flooring; headings 4412 and 4418

Dear Ms. Gamweger:

On February 17, 1999, Customs issued Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 962031, on a protest filed by F. Gallagher, Transport Intl., Inc., on behalf of Edelweiss Wood, concerning the classification of plywood flooring.

However, after further consideration of the matter in light of the terms of heading 4412 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), and heading 4418, HTSUS, and after consideration of recent clarifying amendments to the Explanatory Notes to heading 4412, HTSUS, and heading 4418, HTSUS, Customs is changing its position on the classification of certain wood flooring products. In that regard, we reviewed HQ 962031 and determined that the classification of the plywood flooring under heading 4418, HTSUS, is no longer correct. The merchandise is now classifiable under heading 4412. Accordingly, we are revoking HQ 962031. This decision explains the basis for the change in classification.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of HQ 962031, along with three other rulings, was published in the customs bulletin on December 20, 2000. As explained in a notice published on February 21, 2001, in Vol. 35, No. 8 of the customs bulletin, the period within which to submit comments on this proposal was extended to March 23, 2001. Customs received twenty-one comments.


A description of the merchandise at issue in HQ 962031 reads as follows:

The merchandise at issue consists of plywood flooring measuring 7’2” long, 5.5” wide and 15 mm thick. Each sheet of plywood has been tongued and grooved on the edges and ends. In addition, two 20 mm circles have been cut out and regaled to the face veneer to imitate wood pegs. The plywood is composed of three wood layers: 1) a face veneer 3 mm thick consisting of a 5” wide strip of marabou (a tropical wood species specified in subheading note 1 of chapter 44) and a ½” wide strip of white oak; 2) a core of spruce lumber strips 8 mm thick; 3) and a back of fir veneer 4 mm thick.


Is the flooring at issue classifiable as plywood, veneered panels or similar laminated wood under heading 4412, HTSUS, or as assembled parquet panels under heading 4418, HTSUS?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRIs will be applied.

Heading 4412, HTSUS, provides for “Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood.” The merchandise at issue meets the terms of heading 4412, HTSUS, as plywood, veneered panels or similar laminated wood. It consists of a surface veneer (thickness not exceeding 6 mm), a core, and a veneer backing.

Heading 4418, HTSUS, provides for “Builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood, including cellular wood panels, assembled parquet panels, and shingles and shakes.” Parquet panels consist of individual lumber strips, i.e., solid strips of wood over 6 mm in thickness, assembled together. The lumber strips may be worked on the edges so that they can be assembled together, or they may be assembled together using a backing or reinforcement (including a wood backing). Such parquet panels are described by heading 4418, HTSUS.

When interpreting and implementing the HTSUS, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENs, while neither legally binding nor dispositive, provide a guiding commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The ENs to heading 4412, HTSUS, state, in pertinent part:

This heading also covers plywood panels or veneered panels, used as flooring panels, and sometimes referred to as “parquet flooring”. These panels have a thin veneer of wood affixed to the surface, so as to simulate a flooring panel made up of parquet strips.

The ENs to heading 4418, HTSUS, state, in pertinent part:

This heading also covers parquet strips, etc., assembled into panels or tiles, with or without borders, including parquet panels or tiles consisting of parquet strips assembled on a support of one or more layers of wood. These panels or tiles may be tongued and grooved at the edges to facilitate assembly.

This heading does not cover:

Plywood panels or veneered panels, used as flooring panels, which have a thin veneer of wood affixed to the surface, so as to simulate a flooring panel made up of parquet strips (heading 44.12).

The Harmonized System Committee (“HSC”), amended the ENs to heading 4412 and heading 4418 in November of 1997, after a discussion and decision on the classification of veneered flooring panels which had the appearance of parquet panels, by adding the above-italicized sections. See Annex IJ/14 to Doc. 41.600 E (HSC/20/Nov. 97).

In light of the amended ENs and our analysis of the scope of the terms of headings 4412 and 4418, we conclude that flooring panels consisting of one or more strips of veneer on the surface are classifiable in heading 4412, HTSUS. These veneered flooring panels are distinct from parquet panels of heading 4418, HTSUS, which consist of individual parquet strips (lumber strips) joined together at the edges or ends to form the panel.

In the subject case, the laminated flooring meets the terms of heading 4412, and in light of the amended ENs it is clear that the heading was intended to cover such flooring with the top layer made up of multiple strips of wood veneers. Thus, the laminated flooring is classifiable under heading 4412, HTSUS, and its appropriate subheading according to the wood species used and the construction of the laminated wood.

If you are currently importing the subject flooring into the United States, it is recommended that you request a ruling specific to your product in order to obtain the proper classification subheading and rate of duty. Ruling requests should follow the procedures set out in Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177).


HQ 962031 is REVOKED. The classification of the laminated wood flooring at issue is under heading 4412, HTSUS, as "Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood."

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the customs bulletin.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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