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NY E87773

December 21, 2000

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:SP:230 E87773


TARIFF NO.: 4418.90.4090

Mr. Rick Marks
Marks Lumber Limited
P.O. Box 1341
Brantford, Ontario N3T 5T6

RE: The tariff classification of wooden roof truss components (“Turb-O-Webs”) from Canada.

Dear Mr. Marks:

In your letter dated August 20, 1999, 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 a wood product known as a “Turb-O-Web,” samples of which were submitted. The product is designed to be a truss component, that is, serve as a supporting member (“web” piece) connecting the top and bottom members (“chords”) of a roof truss. The subject truss components will be imported in sizes of 2 x 4 inches (nominal) and precise lengths. You anticipate that the majority of the components will have precise lengths within a range of 30 to 84 inches. The distinguishing feature which makes this product recognizable and functional as a truss component in the licensed “Turbo-O-Web” truss manufacturing process is the combination of a radius cut present at each end of the board, i.e. a fully rounded semicircular shape having a 1-3/4 inch radius and a precise length required by a specific truss design.

It is understood that in all instances the product will arrive in the United States with both ends rounded and in precise lengths, and it will be utilized in specific trusses “as is,” without any additional cutting or other processing. The “Turb-O-Webs” will thus be imported in condition ready for assembly, which will be accomplished simply by using metal connector plates to fasten their radiused ends to the other truss members.

It is also noted that the “Turb-O-Webs” will be imported in various grades; however, this ruling will apply only to those made from MSR, No. 2 & Btr, and stud-grade lumber. We are not convinced that other grades are viable for use in the manufacture of “Turb-O-Webs”.

Trusses have traditionally been produced using webs with angle-cut ends. The “Turb-O-Web”, with its rounded ends, represents a new concept that was developed and patented by an Australian truss manufacturer, who is licensing the use of his technology to various truss producers around the world. Your firm will produce “Turb-O-Webs” and sell them only to truss manufacturers licensed to use the “Turb-O-Web” system. The round-end design provides great versatility, virtually eliminating the need for complex angle cuts. This, in turn, reduces some of the accuracy problems associated with angle cuts, reduces inventory requirements, and also results in production efficiencies.

Reprints of articles published in the trade magazine “Automated Builder” accompanied your inquiry. The articles indicate that “Turb-O-Webs” are made on specialized “Turb-O-Cutter” machines developed, patented and sold for that exclusive purpose by the Australian originator.

The articles explain that the “Turb-O-Web” system has become widely accepted in Australia and has already been used in thousands of truss jobs there. The articles also give specific information on firms that, under license, have begun developing and using the product for truss production in the United States.

Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), states that 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.

In light of all the facts, as summarized in the above discussion, we find that at this time the “Turb-O-Webs” belong to a class or kind of goods which are principally used and recognized as components in the assembly of roof trusses.

When interpreting and implementing the HTS, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) to 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 HTS. The ENs for heading 4418, HTS (which provides for “builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood”) read, 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 recognizable unassembled pieces (e.g., prepared with tenons, mortises, dovetails or other similar joints for assembly), whether or not with their metal fittings
the term “carpentry” refers to woodwork (such as beams, rafters and roof struts) used for structural purposes

The instant “Turb-O-Webs”, with their specially prepared radius-cut ends and their established truss-making application, are “recognizable unassembled pieces” used for structural purposes in buildings. Thus, they answer to the terms of heading 4418.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the imported “Turb-O-Webs”, as described, will be 4418.90.4090, HTS, which provides for other (than certain enumerated) builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood. The general rate of duty will be 3.2%. (This rate will remain unchanged in the year 2001.)

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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