Jon CagleLogistics and Compliance SupervisorHome Decorators Collection8920 Pershall RoadHazelwood, MO 63042
RE: The tariff classification of a storage bench from China.
Dear Mr. Cagle:
In your letter dated August 30, 2010, you requested a tariff classification ruling.
The merchandise at issue is the Lakewood Storage Bench, identified by item number 62910. The storage bench is constructed of 65% Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), 15% solid wood, and 20% rattan. The bench has a seat that is 36 inches wide by 13 inches deep by 18 inches high. The bench has a slotted back that rises an additional 10.5 inches above the seat. Overall specifications are stated to be 36 inches wide by 14.25 inches deep by 28.5 inches high. Beneath the seat the bench holds two baskets constructed of rattan weaving. These rattan baskets (drawers) with handles are used for the storage of items. Submitted photographs indicate that the bench is not upholstered, items can be placed upon the wooden surface of the bench, and that the drawers can open and close without the removal of the items placed upon the bench.
In response to your inquiry concerning the classification of these items, we must consider the definition and meaning of bedroom furniture. The term "bedroom furniture” is not defined in the text of the HTSUS, nor the Explanatory Notes to the HTSUS. When terms are not defined, they are construed in accordance with their common and commercial meaning – Nippon Kogasku (USA), Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F.2d 380 (1982). Common and commercial meaning may be determined by consulting dictionaries, lexicons, scientific authorities and other reliable sources. C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 69 CCPA 128, 673 F.2d 1268 (1982).
Dictionary and encyclopedia definitions describe "bedroom furniture" as furniture intended for use in the bedroom. Further elaboration indicates that bedroom furniture, sometimes called a bedroom set or bedroom suite consists of a group of furniture in a bedroom or sleeping quarters; these groupings include, but are not limited to, beds; wardrobes; dressers (also known as a chest of drawers usually placed in a bedroom); chests; nightstands; armoires; vanities; trunks; and mirrors. Door Chests and Armoires can also have shelves for television receivers and other entertainment electronics.
It therefore follows that key to defining “bedroom furniture” for tariff purposes is not only the intended use of the item, but also, the primary use of the item at time of import to be used in the bedroom. See New York Ruling, N069325 dated August 6, 2009 and N080635 dated November 5, 2009, both of which concluded that the primary use of the furniture pieces were for the bedroom, even though those pieces could be placed in settings other than in the bedroom.
Further consistent with the cited rulings in the aforementioned paragraph are New York Rulings: N087304 dated December 21, 2009; N084602 dated December 8, 2009; N063740 dated June 12, 2009, and N117616 dated August 23, 2010, in which chests and dressers with drawers were found to be primarily for the use in the bedroom, even though these items could be used elsewhere; therefore, classification was found to be subheading 9405.50, HTSUS – wooden furniture of a kind used in a bedroom. Of note is New York Ruling N064700 dated June 23, 2009, where storage benches were classified as wooden furniture of a kind used in the bedroom.
Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). 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 3(b): Mixtures, composite goods consisting or different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.
GRI 3(c): When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.
You state in your submission that the primary purpose of this item is for seating, with the added benefit of storage for miscellaneous items. We disagree that the primary or predominate use of storage benches with drawers or storage benches with doors and a shelf is for seating. It is our opinion that both functions and uses are mutually exclusive, in that the seat provides temporary comfort for rest, and placing ones clothing and shoes on or off, while the storage unit provides for household articles and miscellaneous items to be stored. Further we are of the opinion that the subject merchandise is of the type and class of item that is commonly found within a bedroom setting. Accordingly, there is no essential character for this combined item and as such classification falls to subheading 9403.50 – the provision for wooden furniture of a kind used in the bedroom.
The applicable subheading for the wooden storage bench, will be 9403.50.9080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Other furniture and parts thereof: Wooden furniture of a kind used in the bedroom: Other: Other; Other.” The rate of duty will be free.
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/.
The merchandise in question may be subject to antidumping duties 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 investigations”), and you can search AD/CVD deposit and liquidation messages using the AD/CVD Search tool at http://www.cbp.gov (click on “Import” and “AD/CVD”).
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 Neil H. Levy at (646) 733-3036.
Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division