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Customs Classification: How to I classify if I am missing "parts of"?

Customs Classification: When your preferred Chapter does not have “parts of” or the case of a “7 degree other”

Love the technical explanation, Mike. I agree with you that this ruling touches on quite a classification principles. I am often asked to "translate" these rulings into plain English. It's an art, but here is what I tried for my clients this week. All of your thoughts would be very welcome.

Here is what we have got:

These are wooden slates that have paired dimensions, rounded edges, their surface has been treated, they can carry have to load and bend quite a bit. Sounds to me like they could be furniture or part of a bed. So should they be classified as just pieces of wood, part of a frame /mattress support or a piece of a bed/ furniture?

The General Rules of Interpretation help us, although it's quite a jungle…

If furniture or bedding, we would be in Chapter 94. So let’s start there. We could only be talking about “Furniture; bedding, mattresses or mattress supports”. Only 9101, 9403 or 9404 would fit. Well, by just looking at the slates, you can not determine that they are solely/specifically to be assembled into the frames of seats (products of heading 9401) or into the frames of mattresses (products of heading 9403). The chapter rule in 94, however, requires that they are “solely or principally for such article”….so this rules these headings out. What about 9404, mattress support?

The characteristics of the slate seem to make them part of a frame of mattress support. “Mattress support” is specifically provided for under CN 9404100000 (subject to a duty of 3.7%).

So this works as a part thereof?

Well, it would work if “parts thereof” would be specifically mentioned and had their own code. But neither the CN nor the entire heading 9404 provides for “parts”, only complete products (according to Note 3 (B) to Chapter 94). However, the eagle eye would have spotted a nice little “other” under 9404909000, very tempting, isn’t it? 3.7% duty is not too much, is it?

Too tempting to be true and also not possible. These “others” do clearly not speak about slates. So 9404 heading is also excluded.

This leaves if with “wood” or Chapter 44: “Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal”. Here the only option would be either 4412 (“Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood”) or 4121 (“Other articles of wood”). Given that they have been worked in a way that excludes 4112, that leaves us with 4121.

After applying the General Rules of Interpretation 1 for the interpretation of the Combined Nomenclature, and by the wording of CN codes 4421 and 4421 99, we will then apply GIR 6, and go to an impressive degree of 7x “Other” to finish at 4421 99 99.

Importing from outside the EU is subject to a third country duty of 0.00 % (unless subject to other measures).

So had you insisted on classifying it under HS 9404909000, then you would have overpaid duty by almost 4% - thank god we rescued you from that. ….uff this was a close one.



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