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HQ 965428

February 28, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965428 RH


TARIFF NO.: 4418.90.4090

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
1500 Port Blvd.
Miami, Florida 33132

RE: Protest number 5201-01-100970; Wood flooring; Wood products worked or shaped on edges, faces and ends; Application of amendments to Explanatory Notes; Headings 4409 and 4418, HTSUS

Dear Port Director:

The purpose of this correspondence is to address the Application for Further Review of Protest (AFR) number 5201-01-100970, which you forwarded to our office for review.

The protestant, Caribbean Lumber International, Inc., timely filed the AFR on November 14, 2001. The AFR challenges the liquidation of one entry of tongued and grooved hardwood flooring under subheading 4418 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as other builder’s joinery and carpentry of wood. The merchandise was entered into the United States on September 28, 2001.

The protestant contends that the flooring is properly classified under heading 4409, HTSUS.


The Customs laboratory in Savannah, Georgia examined a sample of the wood flooring in question. Laboratory report number SV20011177 describes the sample as follows:

The sample, a dark chocolate brown colored piece of solid wood, with a thickness of 19 millimeters, is of tongue and groove construction on [the] edges and ends. The sample is nonconiferious (hardwood) wood. In our opinion, the sample is of Millettia spp. (Wenge), has not been surface treated and could be used as flooring.


What is the correct classification hardwood flooring that is tongued and grooved on the edges and ends?


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.

Prior to 2002, heading 4409 specifically provided for wood that was continuously worked or shaped along any of its edges or faces, but the heading was silent with regards to wood that was shaped on its ends. For that reason, Customs classified solid wood flooring that was tongued and grooved on the sides but not the ends under heading 4409. Before 2002, Customs always classified solid wood flooring that was tongued and grooved on both the edges and ends under heading 4418, as builder’s joinery and carpentry of wood.

Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 965083, dated June 22, 2001 (copy enclosed), states Customs position with regard to the classification of solid wood flooring which is worked on the edges or the face, or on both the edges and the ends like the tongued and grooved flooring in this case. Therefore, we incorporate the LAW AND ANALYSIS portion of that ruling in this decision, as it is dispositive of the issue raised by the protestant.

The 2002 tariff no longer distinguishes between solid wood that is tongued and grooved on the edges from solid wood flooring which is tongued and grooved on both the edges and ends. The heading now includes wood that is continuously shaped along any of its “edges, ends or faces.” Accordingly, any entries of this merchandise made on or after January 10, 2002, will be classified in heading 4409, HTSUS.


The protest should be DENIED in full. Customs correctly liquidated the tongued and grooved hardwood flooring, which was entered into the United States on September 28, 2001, under subheading 4418.90.4090, HTSUS, as other builder’s joinery and carpentry of wood.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.ustreas.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director

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