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NY I83432

July 31, 2002

CLA-2-84:RR:NC:1:104 I83432


TARIFF NO.: 8465.94.0035

Mr. Lars-Erik Hjelm
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Robert S. Strauss Building
1333 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-1564

RE: The tariff classification of a continuous laminated veneer lumber press line from Germany

Dear Mr. Hjelm:

In your letter dated June 28, 2002 on behalf of Boise Cascade Corporation of Boise, Idaho you requested a tariff classification ruling.

Your client (BCC) seeks a ruling for an unassembled continuous laminated veneer lumber (LVL) press line. In the LVL press line, individual sheets of veneer are converted into solid wood stock for further manufacturing into engineered wood products such as I-beams. The sheets of veneer coated with wet glue are stacked one on top of another in a stair-step fashion, mated together into a continuous billet which is heated and compressed. The finished stock is then cut to a specified length and width. You note that the LVL press line does not produce the veneer sheets or apply the glue to them.

The unassembled continuous LVL line consists of five principal components which work in unison to produce laminated veneer lumber. They are: a three-level layup station, a microwave heating system, a press unit, a saw line, and a central electric/electronic control system.

The function of the lay-up station is to assemble, or “lay up” individual veneer sheets into laminated veneer packages. It has three levels in that it works through three parallel groups of conveyors.

The microwave heating system is an enclosed heating cell where the billet is heated by high-energy microwave power generated by eight or twelve microwave generators situated in an enclosed structure adjacent to the press line. The microwaves are transmitted to the heating cell via rectangular aluminum wave guides. The enclosed structure for the generators will not be imported. The heating cell is a four-sided tunnel with open ends facing the press. The tunnel contains 24 applicators (metal devices enabling precise control) to direct the dispersion of the microwave energy.

The principal component of the LVL press is the continuous press system (“CPS”) unit where the stacked and heated veneer panels are pressed into a continuous billet of LVL stock. The press unit has a width of eight feet and a length of 220 feet. The main elements of the CPS are the inlet system, press body, outlet system and circulation system plus all the hydraulic equipment.

The saw line has two cross billet saws which cut off the continuously pressed LVL into individual billet lengths and a double side trim saw to trim the billet to the specified width.

The central electric/electronic system provides and controls electric power to the layup station, microwave heating system, CPS unit, and saw line and is programmed to ensure proper and efficient interaction among the components.

You suggest that an unassembled continuous laminated veneer lumber (LVL) press is classifiable under HTS subheading 8479.30.00 which provides for presses for the manufacture of particle board or fiber building board of wood or other ligneous materials and other machinery for treating wood or cork.

You also suggest that this unassembled LVL press is a composite machine in accordance with section XVI, note 3, and if failing that it is a functional unit in accordance with section XVI, note 4. As is evident from the information submitted, the LVL is a line of machinery rather than a single multifunction machine. Note 3 does not apply since the machines of this LVL line are not fitted together to form a whole. Note 4 certainly would apply if the unassembled press is shipped in a single shipment.

The importer, BCC, anticipates that it will not be possible to import all components in a single shipment. However, BCC expects that it will obtain single entry status pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1484(j)(1) (for which Customs is currently promulgating regulations) and thus requests consideration of this ruling request on the assumption that single entry status will be accorded to the various shipments.

Regarding classification, you state on page 25 of your letter that scrutiny of the relevant Explanatory Notes (ENs) reveals that machines of this type are excluded from heading 8465, and specifically included in heading 8479, because they do not “work wood” as that term is employed in heading 8465. (You point out that subheading 8465.94, which provides for bending and assembling machines, includes statistical suffixes for laminating machines and presses however these suffixes are not legally binding. We agree that statistical suffixes have no legal significance.)

The first paragraph of the 8465 ENs states that the “heading covers machine tools for the shaping or surface working (including cutting, forming and assembling) of wood ” From this it is apparent that “working wood” in heading 8465 includes assembling. This machine assembles the veneer sheets.

You then quote the ENs at page 1560, the middle of the second paragraph under the subheading descriptions. “Although (machines) might be considered to be for the treatment of the materials mentioned in the heading, the heading also excludes, in general, machines and apparatus whose function is not to work the material or its surface, e.g., machines for compressing, agglomerating or impregnating wood. (heading 84.79).”

The sentence before the one you quote states that “furthermore, the heading does not cover machines for making articles from granules or powders, such as machines for moulding plastic materials (heading 84.77), machines for agglomerating or molding particles or fibers of wood or other ligneous matter (84.79) or other similar machines.” It does not exclude machines which work veneer sheets.

You continue that the core functions of the LVL press line at issue are, in the ordinary meanings of those terms, to “agglomerate” individual veneer panels, and then to “compress” the resulting laminate to form LVL, thereby placing the press outside the scope of heading 8465. Furthermore, the LVL press does not work the individual veneer panels or their surfaces for the purposes of the EN. Any working (i.e., peeling, shaping, and glueing) occurs at points preceding the LVL press. You add that Customs practice and the ENs make clear that “working” wood or its surface denotes functions that shape the underlying substrate, such as planing, splitting, drilling or lathing.

As noted above, the language of heading 8465 and item (A)(6) of the ENs at page 1561 make it clear that the heading includes assembly machines. The initial reference to “agglomerating” in this paragraph on page 1560 of the 8465 ENs is to particles or fibres. Veneer sheets are not fibres or particles and laying veneer sheets one on top of another in our opinion is not agglomerating. Pressing these sheets together is also not agglomerating. (Note that the only heading in chapter 84 which includes the term “agglomerating” is heading 8474 where the term is used only in reference to solid mineral fuels, ceramic paste, unhardened cements, plastering materials or other mineral products in powder or paste form.)

You also cite the 8479 ENs at page 1601, part (F), items (1) through (4) and state that the LVL press fits squarely within the illustrative list under items (F)(2) and (3). We disagree. Item 2 describes special presses for agglomerating wood fibre, wood chips, sawdust or cork dust and item 3 describes wood hardening presses.

The applicable subheading for the LVL press, assuming that single entry status will be accorded pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1484(j)(1), will be 8465.94.0035, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for machine tools (including machines for nailing, stapling, glueing or otherwise assembling) for working wood, cork, bone, hard rubber, hard plastics or similar hard materials: other: bending or assembling machines. The rate of duty will be 2.9 percent.

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 Robert Losche at 646-733-3011.


Robert B. Swierupski

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