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NY D87805

May 25, 2001

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:SP:230 D87805


TARIFF NO.: 4407.10.0015

Mr. Frank M. Murphy
Norman G. Jensen, Inc.
P.O. Box 8008
Port Huron, MI 48061-8008

RE: The tariff classification of wooden boards to be used as material for truss components, from Canada.

Dear Mr. Murphy:

In your letters dated December 9, 1998 and February 3, 1999, on behalf of White Spruce Forest Products, Ltd. (Collingwood, ON, Canada), sales agent for Cascade Empire Corp. (Lake Oswego, OR), you requested a tariff classification ruling. We regret that our reply was delayed by an ongoing Customs review of the classification of certain trade-sensitive wood products.

The goods in question are kiln-dried, stud-grade solid wood boards (spruce-pine-fir), said to be intended for eventual use as roof-truss components. They will be made from 2x3, 2x4 or 2x6 stock. You state that the length may be 24 inches to 16 feet and possibly longer. In addition, you indicate that the boards may have one or both ends cut at an angle that may vary from 15 degrees to 55 degrees. Shipments will be in truckloads which will contain a variety of sizes and display different angles. You state that the boards will be shipped directly to the U.S. truss manufacturer’s plant, but that a given shipment will not necessarily contain a specific number/ combination of pieces for a specific number of trusses.

Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter notes, and then, if the headings and notes do not otherwise require, in accordance with the remaining GRIs, taken in order. [GRI's 2 through 6.] You have expressed the opinion that the subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 4418.90.4040, HTSUSA. Heading 4418 provides for, among other things, builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood.

The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading and the GRIs of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes that the ENs should always be consulted. (See T.D. 89-80.) The ENs to heading 44.18, HTS, state in pertinent part as follows:

This heading applies to woodwork, including that of wood marquetry or inlaid wood, used in the construction of any kind of building, etc., in the form of assembled goods or as recognisable unassembled pieces (e.g., prepared with tenons, mortises, dovetails or other similar joints for assembly), whether or not with their metal fittings such as hinges, locks, etc.

In condition as described, we find that the subject lumber is not specifically recognizable as truss members. The merchandise consists of a variety of sizes and angles without being associated to any specific trusses. Furthermore, the various boards are not identified or recognizable as being truss webs or as being truss chords. In addition, the condition of the subject merchandise indicates that additional processing is required, e.g., cutting to precise length, to approach the identity of fabricated truss members in condition ready to be assembled into trusses.

Accordingly, the subject lumber is precluded from being classified under heading 4418, HTSUS.

In light of the outlined circumstances, we find that for tariff classification purposes the imported items are neither unassembled trusses nor individual truss members. They must instead be regarded simply as materials (i.e., lumber of indeterminate nature) which may be suitable for use in making truss members. As imported, they are not specific members for specific trusses.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the instant wood boards 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: coniferous...not treated: mixtures of spruce, pine and fir (“S-P-F”). The rate of duty will be free. 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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