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NY N013863

August 6, 2007



TARIFF NO.: 4411.14.2000

Ms. Donna L. Bade, Esq.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
225 W. Washington Street
Suite 1550
Chicago, IL 60606

RE: The tariff classification of 12 mm Laminate Flooring (fiberboard – MDF) from Belgium, China, Spain and Germany

Dear Ms. Bade:

In your letter dated June 27, 2007, you requested a tariff classification ruling of a 12 mm laminate flooring on behalf of Armstrong World Industries, Inc.

The subject laminate flooring consists of a fiberboard substrate that has been laminated on one surface with a resin impregnated printed paper having a photographic image design resembling wood, stone, or any other design. The face surface is finished with a high-performance substance containing aluminum oxide to protect the floor from stains, fading, and wear. The back surface has been laminated with a resin saturated paper to create a moisture barrier and also serve as a balancing material, preventing the floor from warping. The subject laminate flooring will be imported in various sizes. In addition, Armstrong’s laminate flooring typically has a density range of 850kg/m3 to 900 kg/m3 prior to the addition of any paper layers. A sample of the 12 mm thick laminate flooring was submitted.

The manufacturing process of the subject 12 mm laminate flooring is essentially identical to the laminate flooring that was the subject of ruling N009674. Thus, the step-by-step manufacturing process described in ruling N009674 is incorporated herewith.

The manufacturing process of the fiberboard is of particular importance to the classification of the laminate flooring under heading 4411, HTSUS, specifically, in the determination if the fiberboard is a Medium Density Fiberboard (“MDF”). The mixing of fibers and resin and the use of dry fibers are distinguishing characteristics of MDF.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) 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 ENs to heading 44.11 state as follows:

The categories of fibreboard of this heading can be distinguished according to their production process and they include:

Fibreboard obtained by the “dry production process”

This group includes, in particular, medium density fibreboard (MDF), which is manufactured in a process in which additional thermosetting resins are added to the dried wood fibres in order to assist the bonding process in the press. The density generally ranges from 0.45 g/cm³ to 1 g/cm³. In the unworked state it has two smooth surfaces. It can be used in many different applications such as furniture, interior decoration and in building.

Medium density fibreboard of a density exceeding 0.8 g/cm³ is sometimes also referred to by the trade as “high density fibreboard (HDF)”.

The subject laminate flooring is 12 mm thick and consists of a substrate of fiberboard with a density of 850 to 900 kg/m3 prior to the addition of any paper layers. The fiberboard is formed in a dry process with the addition of a resin in an amount adequate to provide the primary bond between fibers and form a solid panel. Thus, the subject laminate flooring is a Medium Density Fiberboard as provided for under heading 4411, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, (HTSUS).

The applicable subheading for the subject 12 mm thick laminate flooring will be 4411.14.2000, HTSUS, which provides for medium density fiberboard (MDF), of a thickness exceeding 9 mm, other, tongued, grooved or rabbetted continuously along any of its edges and dedicated for use in the construction of walls, ceilings or other parts of buildings, laminated boards bonded in whole or in part, or impregnated, with synthetic resins. The rate of duty will be 1.9 cents per kilogram plus 1.5 percent ad valorem.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

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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