CLA-2 OT:RR:CTF:TCM H132496 EGJ
Senior Trade Advisor
Deringer Logistics Consulting Group
173 West Service Road
Champlain, NY 12919
RE: Modification of NY N121618 and Revocation of NY R00927, NY N064700,
NY N122505, and NY N234965: Classification of Wooden Storage Benches
Dear Ms. DiBernardo:
In New York Ruling Letter (NY) N121618, dated September 21, 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) responded to the ruling request you submitted on behalf of Vermont Precision Woodworks (Vermont). You requested a tariff classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) for four pieces of wooden furniture. One of those pieces of furniture was a wooden storage bench.
In the original ruling, CBP classified the bench under subheading 9403.50.90, HTSUS, which provides for wooden articles of bedroom furniture. We have reviewed NY N121618 and we have found the ruling to be in error with regard to the bench. For the reasons set forth below, we hereby modify NY N121618 and revoke four other ruling letters on substantially similar merchandise: NY R00927, dated October 14, 2004, NY N064700, dated June 23, 2009, NY N122505, dated October 4, 2010, and NY N234965, dated November 30, 2012.
Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. §1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI, notice proposing to modify NY N121618 and to revoke NY R00927, NY N064700, NY N122505, and NY N234965 was published on May 7, 2014, in Volume 48, Number 18, of the Customs Bulletin. No comments were received in response to the notice.
In NY N121618, CBP described the bench as a wooden table with one lower shelf. It measures 36 inches wide by 14 inches deep by 18 inches high. The lower shelf is concealed by two small, side by side doors which open outwards. Each door has a small circular metallic knob. In your ruling request, you included an image of the bench in a residential foyer. That image is provided below:
Is the bench classified in heading 9401, HTSUS, as a seat or in subheading 9403.50, HTSUS, as wooden bedroom furniture or in subheading 9403.60, HTSUS, as other wooden furniture?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that 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 GRIs 2 through 6 may then be applied in order. GRI 6 requires that the classification of goods in the subheadings of headings shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings, any related subheading notes and mutatis mutandis, to the GRIs 1 through 5.
The HTSUS provisions at issue are as follows:
9401 Seats (other than those of heading 9402), whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof …
* * *
9403 Other furniture and parts thereof:
9403.50 Wooden furniture of a kind used in the bedroom …
* * *
9403.60 Other wooden furniture …
* * *
Legal Note 2 to Chapter 94 states that:
2. The articles (other than parts) referred to in headings 9401 to 9403 are to be classified in those headings only if they are designed for placing on the floor or ground.
The following are, however, to be classified in the above-mentioned headings even if they are designed to be hung, to be fixed to the wall or to stand one on the other:
(a) Cupboards, bookcases, other shelved furniture and unit furniture;
(b) Seats and beds.
* * *
The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
EN 94.01 states, in pertinent part, that:
[T]his heading covers all seats (including those for vehicles, provided that they comply with the conditions prescribed in Note 2 to this Chapter), for example:
Lounge chairs, armchairs, folding chairs, deck chairs, infants’ high chairs and children’s seats designed to be hung on the back of other seats (including vehicle seats), grandfather chairs, benches, couches (including those with electrical heating), settees, sofas, ottomans and the like, stools (such as piano stools, draughtsmen’s stools, typists’ stools, and dual purpose stoolsteps), seats which incorporate a sound system and are suitable for use with video game consoles and machines, television or satellite receivers, as well as with DVD, music CD, MP3 or video cassette players (emphasis added) …
* * *
EN 94.03 states, in pertinent part, that:
This heading covers furniture and parts thereof, not covered by the previous headings. It includes furniture for general use (e.g., cupboards, showcases, tables, telephone stands, writingdesks, escritoires, bookcases, and other shelved furniture, etc.), and also furniture for special uses (emphasis added).
* * *
Applying GRI 1, the first issue is whether NY N121618 properly classified the bench in heading 9403, HTSUS, as “other furniture.” Under Legal Note 2 to Chapter 94, an article of furniture can be classified in headings 9401-9403, HTSUS, if it is designed to be placed upon the ground or the floor. Legal Note 2 also sets forth a narrow list of exceptions to this rule. The subject bench is an article of furniture designed for placement on the floor and is therefore classifiable within these headings.
Heading 9401, HTSUS, provides for seats whereas heading 9403, HTSUS, provides for “other furniture.” The bench is a seat; therefore it is classifiable under heading 9401, HTSUS. There is no need to examine heading 9403, HTSUS, as it only covers goods which are not classified in earlier headings. In addition, EN 94.01 states that the heading includes benches. Finally, CBP has consistently classified storage benches in heading 9401, HTSUS, as seats. See HQ 950186, dated November 18, 1991, NY J85273, dated June 5, 2003 and NY L81848, dated January 5, 2005. For all of the aforementioned reasons, the bench is properly classified in heading 9401, HTSUS, as a seat.
The merchandise in question may be subject to antidumping duties or countervailing duties. See Notice of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value in the Investigation of Wooden Bedroom Furniture from the People's Republic of China, 69 Fed. Reg. 221, 67313 - 67320 (November 17, 2004). We note that the International Trade Administration is not necessarily bound by a country of origin or classification determination issued by CBP, with regard to the scope of antidumping orders or countervailing duties. 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 and Border Protection. You can contact them at http://www.trade.gov/ia/ (click on “Contact Us”). For your information, you can view a list of current AD/CVD cases at the United States International Trade Commission website at http://www.usitc.gov (click on “Antidumping and countervailing duty”), and you can search AD/CVD deposit and liquidation messages using ACE, the system of record for AD/CVD messages, or the AD/CVD Search tool available at http://addcvd.cbp.gov/index.asp?ac=home.
By application of GRI 1 (Legal Note 2 to Chapter 94), the wooden storage bench is classifiable under subheading 9401.69.80, HTSUS, which provides, in pertinent part, for “Seats …: other seats, with wooden frames: other: other…” The 2014 column one, general rate of duty is free.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY N121618, dated September 21, 2010, is hereby modified.
NY R00927, dated October 14, 2004, NY N064700, dated June 23, 2009, NY N122505, dated October 4, 2010, and NY N234965, dated November 30, 2012 are hereby revoked.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division