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NY L85261

June 30, 2005

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:2:230 L85261


TARIFF NO.: 4418.90.4590

Mr. Bruce H. Rhodes
All Freight International, Inc.
131 S.W. 156th St. #200
Seattle, WA 98166

RE: The tariff classification of tack strips from China

Dear Mr. Rhodes:

In your letter dated May 19, 2005, on behalf of the exporter and importer, MDD Trading Ltd., Hong Kong, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The ruling was requested on two models of tack strips, # 20-231A and # 20-331A. A tack strip is used to secure a carpet to a floor and consists of a strip of plywood with metal tacks and nails inserted at intervals. Model # 20231 is used on wood floors, and model # 20331 is used on concrete floors. Samples of each model were submitted.

The samples consist of strips of 5-ply plywood, approximately 5.5 mm thick x ¾” wide x 4 feet long. Each ply is a veneer of poplar wood about 1 mm thick. One edge of the strip is cut at an angle (approximately 45 degrees). Driven into each strip are 53 steel tacks (short light nails with a sharp point and a flat head). The tacks are fully driven into the strips, so that their heads are flush with the bottom side of the strips and their points protrude through the top side at an angle (the same angle and in the same direction as the angled edge of the strip). In addition, 9 steel nails are partly sunk at a right angle into each strip in the opposite direction as the tacks. The nails are driven so that their points slightly pierce the bottom of the strip while their heads protrude from the top. The type of nails used in the two models differs. Wood nails, 1.9 mm in diameter x 19 m in length, made of steel and zinc chromated, are used for model # 20-231A. Concrete nails, 2.68 mm in diameter x 17.46 mm in length, made of steel and heat treated, are used for model # 20-331A.

The tack strips are placed along the perimeter of a room and hammered into the floor using the wood or concrete floor nails. The protruding tacks on top are used to secure a carpet. In addition, the straight edge of the wood strip may be used for stapling padding that is placed underneath the carpet.

Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’s). GRI 1 states that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Goods consisting of more than one material or component, which are classifiable under two or more headings, are classified according to the principles of GRI 3. GRI 3(b) states that composite goods consisting of different materials shall be classified according to the material which gives them their essential character.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN) provide a commentary on the scope of each heading. The Ens, although not legally binding, may be consulted when determining the classification of a product under a particular heading (T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, August 23, 1989).

The EN to GRI3 (b) state:

The factor which determines the essential character may vary between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

You are of the opinion that the essential character of the subject tack strips is imparted by the nails because of the role the nails play in the functioning of these products. You believe that the tack strips are classifiable in subheading 7317.00.55, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) as nails of steel.

The tack strips are composite goods composed of two different materials, wood and metal. The tack strips are articles manufactured from plywood and nails. However, they are no longer classifiable as these materials. They do not meet the description of articles of heading 7317, according to the terms of that heading. Heading 7317 provides for:

Nails, tacks, drawing pins, corrugated nails, staples (other than those of heading 8305) and similar articles of iron and steel, whether or not with heads of other material, but excluding such articles with heads of copper.

The subject tack strips go beyond being a nail, screw or tack. They are made up articles.

The competing headings for the subject tack strips are 7326, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of iron or steel and 4418, HTSUS, which provides for builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood. The respective competing subheadings within these headings are 4418.90.4590, HTSUS, (dutiable at 3.2%) and 7326.90.8587, HTSUS, (dutiable at 2.9%).

In determining the essential character of the tack strips, consideration was first given to the role the materials play in the functioning of the articles. Although the nails play an important role in the functioning of the tack strips, we believe that the wood strips play an equally or possibly more important role. Nails are readily available for purchase and for use by themselves alone. A carpet could be nailed to a floor without the wood strips. The tack strips, however, are new and different articles of commerce. The strips greatly facilitate the securing of the carpet to the floor. They protect the floor from excessive damage in the fewer number of nail holes required to hold the carpet and the padding. In many cases, similar tack strips are marketed as “tackless strips” because they lessen the negative aspects of nails. Consequently, the wood strips create the “tack strips” and enhance the function of the nails.

In considering the other factors which determine the essential character of a product, we find by visual examination that the wood strips greatly exceed the nails in bulk or area. As submitted by you, the wood strips greatly exceed the nails by weight. The relative weights for a box of 100 tack strips are 6 kg for the wood and 1.69 kg (model # 20-331A) or 1.42 kg (model # 20-231A) for all of the nails. According to the values submitted by you, you state that the wood costs slightly more than the nails of model # 20-231A, but less than the nails of model # 20-331A. However, we find that these values do not appear to reflect the actual wholesale prices of the materials. Based on our findings, the value of the wood plus its processing substantially exceeds the value of the nails in both models.

Taking all of the factors discussed above into consideration, we believe that the essential character of the subject tack strips is imparted by the wood. The wood exceeds the nails in bulk, weight and value and is the primary material which makes up this article.

The tack strip is an assembled wood product used in the construction of a building. Once installed, it becomes a permanent part of the building, similar to moldings and other joinery. It meets the description of products of heading 4418, HTSUS.

The applicable subheading for the tack strips, model # 20-231A and # 20-331A will be 4418.90.4590, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood, other. The rate of duty will be 3.2 percent ad valorem.

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 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 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 CBP.

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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