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 > 2007 HQ Rulings > HQ W968211 - HQ W968385 > HQ W968307

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ W968307

February 6, 2007

CLA-2 RR:CTF:TCM 968307 BtB


TARIFF NO.: 4412

Mr. Keith Erickson
T.J. International
380 East Park Center Boulevard
Boise, ID 83706

RE: Classification of laminated veneer lumber; HQ 086256 revoked

Dear Mr. Erickson:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has determined that Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HQ”) 086256, issued to you on January 23, 1990, is in error. In that ruling, CBP classified certain laminated veneer lumber (“LVL”) in subheading 4418.90.40, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (“HTSUSA”), which provides for: “Builders’ joinery and carpentry of wood, including cellular wood panels and assembled parquet panels; shingles and shakes: Other: Other.” This ruling revokes HQ 086256 and sets forth the correct classification of the LVL.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of HQ 086256 was published in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 40, Number 52, on December 20, 2006. CBP received no comments during the notice and comment period that closed on January 20, 2007.


In HQ 086256, the merchandise at issue was described as follows:

LVL consists of multiple laminations of veneers having their grains parallel. In the case of your merchandise, the veneers are each one-eighth inch thick. The merchandise is produced in thicknesses of 3/4 inch to 2-1/2 inches and in lengths of 8 to 60 feet. After importation, the merchandise may be cut to any length or width the customer desires.

The ruling does not state the species of wood used to make the LVL.


What is the classification of the LVL?


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRI”). GRI 1 provides, in part, that classification decisions are to be "determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes." If 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, in order.

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 HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. While neither legally binding nor dispositive of classification issues, the EN provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127-28 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Heading 4412, HTSUSA, provides for: “Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood.” The EN to heading 4412, in pertinent part, states that the heading covers:

Plywood consisting of three or more sheets of wood glued and pressed one on the other and generally disposed so that the grains of successive layers are at an angle; this gives the panels greater strength and, by compensating shrinkage, reduces warping. Each component sheet is known as a “ ply ” and plywood is usually formed of an odd number of plies, the middle ply being called the “ core ”.

(2) Veneered panels, which are panels consisting of a thin veneer of wood affixed to a base, usually of inferior wood, by glueing under pressure.

Wood veneered on to a base other than wood (e.g., panels of plastics) is also classified here provided it is the veneer which gives the panel its essential character.

(3) Similar laminated wood. This group can be divided into two categories :

- Blockboard, laminboard and battenboard, in which the core is thick and composed of blocks, laths or battens of wood glued together and
surfaced with the outer plies. Panels of this kind are very rigid and strong and can be used without framing or backing.

- Panels in which the wooden core is replaced by other materials such as a layer or layers of particle board, fibreboard, wood waste glued together, asbestos or cork.

However, the heading does not cover massive products such as laminated beams and arches (so-called “ glulam ” products) (generally heading 44.18).

The products of this heading remain classified herein whether or not they have been worked to form the shapes provided for in respect of the goods of heading 44.09, curved, corrugated, perforated, cut or formed to shapes other than square or rectangular and whether or not they have been worked at the surface, the edge or the end, or coated or covered (e.g., with textile fabric, plastics, paint, paper or metal) or submitted to any other operation, provided these operations do not thereby give such products the essential character of articles of other headings.

In HQ 086256, we held that the LVL at issue was not classifiable in heading 4412, HTSUSA, as it did not meet the description of plywood, veneered panels or similar laminated wood. We stated that the LVL was not plywood because the plies were parallel rather than at an angle, and that it was not veneered panels as described in the EN because such panels consist of a thin veneer of wood affixed to a base, usually of inferior wood. The pertinent portion of HQ 086256 reads as follows:

[I]t is clear that LVL is a structural lumber product that is used in a variety of load bearing applications in the construction industry. It is a highly engineered product which is designed in many instances as a direct substitute for glue laminated timber. The Explanatory Notes to heading 4418 specifically provide that the term builders' carpentry includes glulam. In view of the similarity as to use between glulam and LVL and its use as a structural lumber product generally, we find that LVL is properly classifiable in heading 4418.

We no longer find the view stated in HQ 086256 to be correct. We still agree that LVL is not constructed like plywood. However, like veneer panels, the critical feature of LVL is that it is composed of laminated veneers. While we stated in HQ 086256 that glulam and LVL were similar, we now find this view to be incorrect. Glulam is made from lumber that is face and edge glued together to form massive products. In HQ 088292, dated February 21, 1991, we held that glulam is a particular type of structural timber product obtained by gluing together a number of wood laminations in a certain way to provide structural strength. Special construction, dimension and load bearing capacity are all features of glulam.

LVL does not have any recognizable features that dedicate and limit its use to the construction of buildings, which is characteristic of merchandise of heading 4418. See generally EN to heading 4418. Although LVL may be used for that purpose, it is a multiple use wood material similar to plywood panels, lumber boards and other wood boards. LVL may be used in many nonstructural applications such as scaffolding, planks, concrete forming, core material for windows and door manufacturing, furniture manufacturing, truck flooring, ladder rails, etc. Like lumber, it may be cut to many sizes and further manufactured for a variety of uses. See generally HQ 960469, dated October 24, 1997. For these reasons, it was incorrect to classify the LVL in heading 4418, HTSUSA.

Based on the foregoing, we find that LVL is a multi-use product with a construction similar to a veneer panel. Accordingly, it is classified in heading 4412, HTSUSA, pursuant to GRI 1.


The laminated veneer lumber at issue is classified in heading 4412, HTSUSA, which provides for: “Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood.” Because we do not know the species of wood used to make the LVL, we cannot provide the classification of the lumber at the subheading level.


HQ 086256, dated January 23, 1990, is hereby revoked.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


Myles B. Harmon, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: