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NY I89626

January 27, 2003

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:2:230 I89626


TARIFF NO.: 4407.10.0015; 4407.10.0069; 4407.10.0077; 4418.90.4590

Ms. Ginette Blouin
Dolbec Logistics International Inc.
361, rue Lavoie
Parc Industriel Vanier
Quebec (Quebec) G1M 1B4

RE: The tariff classification of grooved (notched) boards and shaped stair stringers from Canada

Dear Ms. Blouin:

In your letters dated December 19, 2002 and September 19, 2002, you requested a tariff classification ruling. The ruling was requested on behalf of your principal, Mr. Claudex Lafrance, the designer of a patented construction system and its various construction elements.

The products to be ruled on in this letter are described in general terms as grooved construction lumber elements. In particular, they are referred to as top rails, bottom plates, rail posts, edge floor boards and side support stringboards or stringers. The edge floor boards consist of rectangular boards in various sizes having a minimum thickness of 1 inch. The species of wood may be spruce, pine, fir, eastern white cedar or western red cedar. The boards will be grooved to facilitate their use in the construction of a deck or staircase. The grooves consist of notches on (across) the edge. The grooves are not continuous along the length. The grooves or notches are placed at various intervals and are labelled with the patented color and symbol coded system. The side support stringboards or stringers include zigzag shaped boards used as the side supports of the steps of a staircase.

You are of the opinion that the grooved construction lumber elements are more advanced than as sawn wood provided for in subheading 4407.10.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). You believe that they should be classified as other builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood in subheading 4418.90.45, HTSUS.

We find, however, that the subject grooved (notched) rectangular (not zigzag shaped) boards are substantially similar to the notched lumber which was the subject of a final revocation classification ruling published in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 33, No. 22/23, dated June 9, 1999. The ruling concerned notched studs for the construction of walls. It was determined that notching of the studs did not cause the merchandise to be considered as one of the relatively advanced articles provided for under heading 4418, HTSUS. The notched studs were neither in the form of assembled goods nor recognizable as unassembled pieces (e.g., prepared with tenons, mortises, dovetails or other similar joints for assembly). The notched studs were considered relatively basic lumber products which were more appropriately provided for under heading 4407, HTSUS.

The subject grooved (notched) rectangular boards are similarly not advanced enough to be recognizable as builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood. The notching and color/symbol coded marks at regular intervals do not advance the boards to the form of assembled goods or prepare them with joints for assembly. As their general description of “construction lumber elements” suggests, the subject grooved boards are still a relatively basic lumber product.

The applicable subheadings for the subject grooved (notched) rectangular boards, depending on the species of wood, will be 4407.10.0015 (mixtures of spruce, pine, and fir “S-P-F”), 4407.10.0069 (western red cedar), or 4407.10.0077 (other cedar), Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or finger-jointed, of a thickness exceeding 6 mm, coniferous, not treated. The general rate of duty will be free.

The above ruling applies only for the subject grooved boards made of solid wood. Your inquiry stated that the boards may also be made from jointed wood or from laminated wood. In order for us to give a classification ruling on the grooved boards made from these materials, your request should include a detailed description of the construction of these materials along with a representative sample section.

The subject grooved (notched) boards may be subject to antidumping duties and/or countervailing duties. A list of AD/CVD proceedings at the Department of Commerce (DOC) and their product coverage can be obtained from the DOC website at: http://ia.ita.doc.gov, or you may write to them at the U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Office of Antidumping Compliance, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20230. Written decisions regarding the scope of AD/CVD orders are issued by the Import Administration in the Department of Commerce and are separate from tariff classification and origin rulings issued by Customs.

The zigzag shaped side support planks or stringers are cut to a specific shape identifying them as stair parts. The applicable subheading for the zigzag shaped stair stringers with or without additional grooves will be 4418.90.9540, HTSUSA, which provides for other builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood. The general rate of duty will be 3.2 percent ad valorem.

Your inquiry does not provide enough information for us to issue a ruling on any other version of the side support planks. In addition, your request for a ruling for the top rails, bottom plates and rail posts covers a wide variety of different versions and possibilities of the products. Rulings may be issued for prospective transactions concerning specific products, but not for various hypothetical situations. For example, would top rails and bottom plates that are 4” thick x 12” wide x 16’long or rail side posts (balusters) that are 2” thick x 4” wide x 72” long actually be imported? If there are specific products that will be imported, you may wish to consider resubmission of your request. Please furnish a detailed description of each product to be imported. Each request should be limited to five actual products.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise description as identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

This ruling is being issued under the assumption that the subject goods, in their condition as imported into the United States, conform to the facts and the description as set forth both in the ruling request and in this ruling. In the event that the facts or merchandise are modified in any way, you should bring this to the attention of Customs and you should resubmit for a new ruling in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2. You should also be aware that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by the Customs Service.

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 Paul Garretto at 646-733-3035.


Robert B. Swierupski

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