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NY L85728

July 15, 2005

CLA-2-44:RR:NC:N2:230 L85728


TARIFF NO.: 4409.10.1080, 4409.10.9040, 4407.10.0053

Mr. Pierre Friolet, President
Future Alternative Wood Products Ltd.
3141 Route 180
South Tetagouche, Bathurst
New Brunswick, Canada E2A 7C1

RE: The tariff classification of ThermoWood® products from Canada

Dear Mr. Friolet:

In your letter dated June 11, 2005, you requested a tariff classification ruling for certain products made from wood (jack pine) that has been heat-treated in a process known as ThermoWood®. The heat treatment method used was developed and patented by Technical Research Centre of Finland. ThermoWood is a registered trademark owned by the Finnish Thermowood Association. Five samples and literature have been submitted.

The ThermoWood process consists of three phases. During the first phase (drying phase) the temperature in the kiln is raised first to 100° C and then steadily increased to 130° C. Phase two is the heat treatment phase, which requires the temperature inside the kiln to be increased to between 185° C and 215° C. In the third phases the wood is cooled to a temperature of about 80°-90° and the wood is re-moisturized to a level of 4-7%. The literature further explains that as a result of the heat treatment process, the wood structure is re-formed. Heating the wood permanently changes several of its chemical and physical properties.

Although the literature speaks of chemical changes in the wood, the ThermoWood process does not use any chemicals or compression. The treatment requires only heat and water (steam). An examination of the submitted samples and the literature shows that the color of the wood is affected by the heat treatment, that is, the higher the temperature, the darker the appearance of the wood.

The literature and your letter explain that the ThermoWood process can be applied to softwoods and hardwoods. However, your letter and samples present only softwood lumber products. Thus, this ruling will address only the tariff classification of lumber products made of softwoods, specifically jack pine.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings) and facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and General Rules of Interpretation. While neither legally binding nor dispositive of classification issues, the EN provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127-28 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The General Notes to Chapter 44 state as follows:

Generally speaking, throughout the Nomenclature, the classification of wood is not affected by treatment necessary for its preservation, such as seasoning, superficial charring, priming and stopping, or impregnation with creosote or other wood preservatives (e.g., coal tar, pentachlorophenol, chromated copper arsenate or ammoniacal copper arsenate);

Although the ThermoWood process is distinguishable from other heat treatment processes performed on lumber products, such as kiln drying (KD) and heat treating (HT), we find that the ThermoWood process does not affect the tariff classification of wood products under Chapter 44, HTSUS.

The five samples of the ThermoWood lumber products are all made of jack pine and described as follows:

“Decking” – Thermo-D: this product measures 5” wide and 1-1/4” thick and has the edges continuously shaped with a V-joint. The ends are square cut.

“Hand rail cap” – Thermo-D: this product measures 2-1/8” wide and 1-3/8” thick at the center of the board and slopes down to a thickness of 1-1/8” toward the edges, thus creating a board with a uniform curved surface along the length. The ends are square cut.

“Waynes coat” – Thermo-D: it measures 4-1/8” wide and ½” thick; the edges are tongued and grooved. The ends are square cut.

“Exterior siding” – Thermo-D: it measures 5” wide and ½” thick; the edges have been continuously worked forming a locking joint similar to a tongue and groove. The ends are square cut.

“Hand rail post” – Thermo-D: it measures 1-3/8” x 1-3/8”. The four edges are eased, and the ends are square cut.

The applicable subheading for the “decking”, the “hand rail cap”, and the “waynes coat” will be 4409.10.9040, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other coniferous wood continuously shaped (tongued, grooved, rebated, chamfered, V-jointed, beaded, molded, rounded or the like) along any of its edges, ends or faces, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed. The rate of duty will be free.

The applicable subheading for the “exterior siding” will be 4409.10.1080, HTS, which provides for wood continuously shaped (tongued, grooved, rebated, chamfered, V-jointed, beaded, molded, rounded or the like) along any of its edges, ends or faces, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, other coniferous wood siding. The rate of duty will be free.

The applicable subheading for the ”hand rail post” will be 4407.10.0053, HTS, which provides for wood sawn or chipped lengthwise, sliced or peeled, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed, of a thickness exceeding 6 mm, coniferous, other, not treated, other pine. The rate of duty will be free.

The lumber products described above 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 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 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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