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HQ 965693

August 5, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965693 ttd


TARIFF NO: 4418.90.4590

Douglas P. Beebe
Affiliated Customs Brokers, USA Inc.
Champlain New York Office

RE: Classification of Engineered Wood Scaffolding Planks

Dear Mr. Beebe:

This is in response to your letter, dated April 11, 2002, on behalf of Lee Structural Wood Inc., requesting a binding ruling regarding the classification of engineered wood scaffolding planks under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Your letter, which was originally submitted to the Customs Area Port of Champlain, New York, was referred to this office for reply. A sample was submitted for review.


The articles under consideration are planks, which are made of edge-glued , finger-jointed spruce lumber, ranging in thickness from 1-5/8 inches to 2 inches in thickness, 8 to 12 inches in width, and up to 16 feet in length. Each plank has at least two steel rods to prevent edge splitting. The sample plank has a steel rod embedded crosswise in it near each end. The face and back of the sample exhibit textured surfaces created by embossed, crisscrossed lines. The plank also features eased edges, and each of its corners has a triangular piece trimmed at a 45-degree angle, measuring 1-1/2 inches. The merchandise is described as being designed for use as supported scaffold (walking and working surface).


What is the proper classification of the subject merchandise? LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides, in part, that classification decisions are to be “determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.” In the event that goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings) and facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. While neither legally binding nor dispositive of classification issues, the EN provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127-28 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Chapter 44, HTSUS, provides for, among other things, wood and articles of wood. This chapter is structured so that less processed wood appears at the beginning of the chapter followed by more advanced wood in later headings within the same chapter. Thus, for example, heading 4403, HTSUS, is a general provision for wood in the rough, whether or not stripped of bark or sapwood or roughly squared, and heading 4421, HTSUS, is a basket provision for more advanced articles of wood that cannot be classified elsewhere in the chapter.

Regarding the subject merchandise, the competing headings under consideration are heading 4407, HTSUSA, which covers wood sawn or chipped lengthwise; heading 4418, HTSUSA, which covers builders' joinery and carpentry of wood; and heading 4421, HTSUSA, which covers other articles of wood. As heading 4407 resides near the beginning of chapter 44, it reflects coverage of a relatively basic category of lumber products in relation to either heading 4418 or 4421, which residing closer to the end of the chapter, reflect coverage of a relatively more advanced category of products.

Heading 4407, HTSUSA, provides for "Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness exceeding 6 mm." As the subject merchandise is made up of edge-glued lumber and contains steel rods, it is advanced beyond the sawn wood of heading 4407, HTSUSA. Accordingly, the scaffolding planks are precluded from classification in heading 4407, HTSUSA. Heading 4418, HTSUSA, provides for, among other things, builder’s joinery and carpentry of wood. The EN to heading 4418, HTSUS, state in pertinent part:

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 such as hinges, locks, etc.

The term "joinery" applies more particularly to builders' fittings (such as doors, windows, shutters, stairs, door or window frames), whereas the term "carpentry" refers to woodwork (such as beams, rafters and roof struts) used for structural purposes or in scaffoldings, arch supports, etc., and includes assembled shuttering for concrete constructional work. ...

As referenced above, the EN to heading 4418 specifically identifies scaffolding as being within the scope of the heading. Given that the subject merchandise is processed beyond the sawn wood of heading 4407, HTSUSA and is specifically named in the EN to heading 4418, it is properly classified in heading 4418, HTSUSA.

Finally, we note that heading 4421, HTSUSA, which provides for "Other articles of wood," is a basket provision for more advanced articles of wood that cannot be classified elsewhere in the chapter. As the subject scaffolding planks are more specifically provided for in heading 4418, HTSUSA, they are precluded from classification in heading 4421, HTSUSA.


The engineered wood scaffolding planks are classified in subheading 4418.90.4590, HTSUSA, which provides for "Builders' joinery and carpentry of wood, including cellular wood panels and assembled parquet panels; shingles and shakes: Other: Other, Other." The general one column rate of duty is 3.2 percent ad valorem.


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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