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HQ 966437

July 24, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 966437 KSH


TARIFF NO.: 4409.10.9040

Port Director
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
477 Michigan Avenue, Room 200
Detroit, MI 48226

RE: Decision on Application for Further Review of Protest 3801-01-100736; Classification of grooved lumber from Canada; Heading 4409

Dear Port Director:

This is a decision on the Application for Further Review (AFR) of Protest Number 3801-01-100736 filed by Boscus Canada, Inc., concerning the classification of grooved lumber under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The importer protests the classification and liquidation of the subject merchandise under subheading 4409.10.9040, HTSUSA, the provision for continuously shaped wood. Further review of the AFR is warranted pursuant to 19 C.F.R. §§174.24 and 174.25.


The grooved lumber at issue consists of 2” x 3” x 8’ S-P-F wood boards having a 1”-wide x ¼” deep groove running lengthwise along the center of one face. Protestant states that the lumber is loading blocks and load boards which are used for the shipment of aluminum sheets that are secured on the blocks. The sheets are fastened by 1” wide metal straps which are placed in the groove to form a single stable shipping load. The load is then moved by a forklift or hoist. Protestant claims that the lumber is unassembled for freight and storage purposes.

The lumber was first entered on July 26, 1999. Protestant claimed classification of the merchandise in subheading 4418.90.4090, HTSUSA, as truss components. The entry was subsequently rejected and the protestant submitted a corrected invoice claiming classification in subheading 4421.90, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of wood. CBP reclassified and liquidated the goods under subheading 4409.10.9040, HTSUSA.

In the protest, the protestant now claims that the boards are classifiable under subheading 4415.20.8000, HTSUSA, as load boards.


Whether the grooved lumber is properly classified in subheading 4409.10.9040 or subheading 4415.20.8000.


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the 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 tariff at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings.

Heading 4415, HTSUSA, 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."

At the time of entry, heading 4409, HTSUSA, provided for "Wood (including strips and friezes for parquet flooring, not assembled) continuously shaped (tongued, grooved, rebated, chamfered, V-jointed, molded, rounded or the like) along any of its edges or faces, whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed."

CBP has issued several rulings addressing the type of merchandise in question. In NY F86079 dated May 10, 2000, Customs classified precut, pre-grooved wooden boards in heading 4409, HTSUSA. 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, HTSUSA. 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, HTSUSA. Customs classified the grooved wood in that case under heading 4409, HTSUSA, 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, HTSUSA. 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, HTSUSA), NY C82518, dated January 7, 1998 (lumber with a notch or bevel along the length of the board was classified in heading 4409, HTSUSA), HQ 964900 dated September 4, 2002 (grooved and non-grooved boards classified in heading 4409.10.9040) and HQ 965460, dated September 5, 2002 (beveled 1 ¼” x 2 ¼” and 1 5/16” by 2 1/8” lumber to ship pipes was classified in heading 4409.10.9040).

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


The protest is DENIED. Customs correctly classified the merchandise in question under subheading 4409.10.9040, HTSUSA, as continuously shaped wood. The merchandise is duty 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 HTSUSA 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, HTSUSA, and therefore the permit information is required.

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 in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

No later than sixty (60) days from the date of this decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other means of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon
Director, Commercial Rulings Division

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