United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2003 HQ Rulings > HQ 964640 - HQ 965536 > HQ 965460

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 965460

September 5, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965460 RH


TARIFF NOS.: 4407.00.0015; 4409.10.9040

Area Port Director
U.S. Customs
198 West Service Road
Champlain, NY 12919

RE: Protest number 0712-01-100183; Heading 4415; Heading 4409; Heading 4407; Pallets; Skids; Platform Kits; Load Boards

Dear Sir:

This is in reply to your memorandum dated February 14, 2002, forwarding protest and application for further review of protest (AFR) number 0712-01-100183 to our office.

Livingston International, Inc., timely filed the protest, on behalf of Bois Carolle Blanchette, Inc., on May 9, 2001, against the classification and liquidation of 13 entries of wooden boards under subheadings 4407.00.0015 and 4409.10.9040 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

Customs liquidated the entries between February 9, 2001, and February 16, 2001. Review of the protest is warranted, pursuant to 19 CFR §§174.24 and 174.25.

The protestant claims that all the merchandise is classifiable under subheading 4415.20.8000, HTSUS, except the extra wood pieces from the skid and platform kits, which are classified under subheading 4407.10.0015, HTSUS.

We note that the protestant argues that classification of the merchandise in question is proper based on oral classification advice received from U.S. Customs personnel. However, under 19 C.F.R. 177.1(b), oral advice or opinions of Customs Service personnel are not binding on the Customs Service.


The protestant asserts that the merchandise in question consists of pallets, skids, wooden loading blocks and platform kits.

The protestant states that five entries consisted of unassembled pallets containing six pieces: three top decks and three runners. Each top deck and runner measure 1½” by 3½”, in lengths of 42”, 25¾” or 29½”, and 1½” by 5½” by 22½”.

Secondly, the protestant claims that two of the entries contained skids or platform kits consisting of forty top deckboards and two runners. The top boards measure 1½” by 3½” by 14”. The runners measure 1½” by 3½” by 144”.

Next, the protestant states that three of the entries under review consist of wooden loading blocks/load boards. The boards measure 1¼” by 2¼” and 1 5/16” by 2”, in lengths of 84”, 96” and 120”. The protestant further claims that each block has been continuously beveled down the middle of the face, creating a groove 1¼” wide. According to the protestant, this wood is used to ship pipes.

Finally, the protestant states that two entries contained platform kits consisting of three “latitudinal” (width) pieces measuring 1½” by 3½” by 25¾” and two “longitudinal” (length) pieces measuring ½” by 3½” by 144”. The protestant claims that this merchandise is used to ship metal siding.

The protestant further states that the merchandise in question is unassembled for freight and storage purposes.


What is the correct classification of the merchandise at issue?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

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.

As heading 4407 resides at the beginning of Chapter 44, HTSUS, it reflects coverage of a relatively basic category of lumber products in relation to heading 4418, which, residing closer to the end of Chapter 44, HTSUS, reflects coverage of a relatively more advanced category of products.

Heading 4407, HTSUS, provides for “Wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed, of a thickness exceeding 6mm.”

Heading 4415, HTSUS, provides for “Packing cases, boxes, crates and similar packings, of wood; cable-drums, of wood; pallets, box-pallets and other load boards, of wood; pallet collars of wood.”

Pallets generally consist, at a minimum, of two types of components, i.e., runners (generally notched to accommodate forklift blades) and deckboards (thin boards of 1” or less in thickness). The protestant cites four rulings wherein Customs classified certain boards under heading 4415, HTSUS. The rulings actually support Customs position that the boards in question are not pallets or unassembled pallets: NY C89984, dated December 16, 1999 (containing top deckboards measuring 1” x 6” x 44”, stringers measuring 2” x 4” x 154” and bottom deckboards measuring 2” x 4” x 47”); NY 895075, dated March 9, 1994 (containing two blocks and five boards); NY 83315, dated July 16, 1999 (one pallet assembly consisted of 5 top deckboards 1” x4” x 65”, 3 notched stringers 2” x 4” x 55” and 3 bottom deckboards 1” x 4” x 65”, another pallet assembly consisted of 5 top deckboards 1” x 4” x 65”, 3 stringers 2” x 4” x 60” and 5 bottom deckboards 1” x 4” x 65”, a third pallet assembly consisted of 5 top deckboards 1" x 4” x 65", 3 ”stringers 2” x 4” x 48" and 5 bottom deckboards 1" x 4” x 65"); and NY E81992, dated July 20, 1999 (a pallet kit consisted of 3 stringers 1½” x 3½” x 35”, 5 top or deckboards ½” x 4” x 42” and 3 bottom boards ½” x 4” x 42”).

Unlike the boards in question, in all the rulings cited above the deckboards are thinner than the runners, and in no case do they exceed 1” in thickness. Accordingly, we find that the boards referred to by the protestant as unassembled pallets, skids and platform kits, fall squarely within the terms of heading 4407, HTSUS. They are a collection of dimension lumber in nominal
sizes of “2 x 4” and “2 x 6” and in various lengths. The boards have no features that make them recognizable as pallets or unassembled pallet components.

Next, Customs has issued several rulings addressing the type of merchandise in question described by the protestant as load boards. In NY F86079 dated May 10, 2000, Customs classified precut, pre-grooved wooden boards in heading 4409, HTSUS. The boards in that case were “2 x 4”, “4 x 4” or intermediate sizes, in lengths ranging from 40 inches to 10 feet. Each board had square cut ends and a groove, ¾” to 1” wide and ½” to ¾” deep, running the entire length of one face. The boards were intended to be placed groove side down. Goods such as plywood sheets or steel mill products would be stacked on top of them and strapping would be threaded through one end of each groove, traversing its entire length and out the other side. The strapping would then be wrapped around the circumference of the stacked goods and cinched tightly to stabilize the load. The grooves in the wood were intended to ensure that the strapping, boards and load would remain secured to one another during all subsequent handling and shipping.

In that ruling, Customs addressed an argument similar to the protestant’s - that the merchandise was classifiable as load boards under heading 4415, HTSUS. We stated that a load board, as defined in the EN and contemplated by the heading, is a “platform” generally consisting of multiple pieces of wood and capable of holding a quantity of merchandise. We found that a “2 x 4”, with or without a groove, cannot reasonably be construed as a platform of heading 4415, HTSUS. Customs classified the grooved wood in that case under heading 4409, HTSUS, as wood continuously shaped along any of its edges or faces.

Additionally, in NY B86507, dated August 18, 1997, Customs classified strapping boards ranging in size from “2 x 3” to “2 x 6” and in lengths from 2 feet to 16 feet with a ¾” wide and ¼” deep groove running down the length of the board in heading 4409, HTSUS. The purpose of the grooves on the boards in that case was to hold a strap in place during shipping. See also, NY B83844 dated April 17, 1997 (grooved “2 x 4” lumber for dunnage was classified in heading 4409, HTSUS), and NY C82518, dated January 7, 1998 (lumber with a notch or bevel along the length of the board was classified in heading 4409, HTSUS).

Based on the above precedent, we find that Customs correctly classified the boards in question under subheading 4409.10.9040, HTSUS.

Finally, the protestant implies that it is entitled to a claim for treatment under 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(2). However, as the protestant has not submitted any evidence whatsoever to establish a treatment claim under 19 U.S.C. §1625(c)(2)

To substantiate a claim for treatment under 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(2), Customs requires evidence of a consistent classification treatment by it on identical or substantially identical transactions. The showing must go back two years prior to the date of the last liquidated entry subject to the claim. The entry information must include a list of every entry of the merchandise both liquidated and unliquidated up to the point where the importer was advised to change the classification to that asserted by Customs, the entry number, port of entries, and it must identify any entries that were subject to examination by Customs. The request must also provide the tariff classification, dollar value and the volume of the merchandise. We also require a statement from the importer or his designee that there have been no entries of the merchandise under a tariff provision different from the claimed treatment provision for the same or similar merchandise. This information will then be verified with the affected ports. , we find the request without merit. Accordingly, the request for a claim for treatment under 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(2) is denied.


The protest is DENIED. Customs correctly classified the merchandise described as pallets, skids and platform kits under subheading 4407.10.0015, HTSUS, as general sawn lumber. The applicable general column one rate of duty is “Free”.

The merchandise entered as load boards is classified under subheading 4409.10.9040, HTSUS, as continuously shaped wood. The applicable general column one rate of duty is “Free”.

At the time of entry of the subject merchandise, softwood lumber first manufactured into a product classifiable in subheadings 4407.10.00, 4409.10,10, 4409.10,20 or 4409.10.90 of the HTSUS in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, or Alberta required that the Government of Canada issue a permit and collect appropriate fees. The imported merchandise is classifiable under subheading 4409.10.90, HTSUS, and therefore the permit information is required.

In accordance with section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive Number 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 30 days from the date of this letter.

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

Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: