Mr. Mike Daly
Livingston International Trade Services, Inc.
100 Walnut Street
Champlain, NY 12919
RE: The tariff classification of an installation kit for laminate flooring from Canada
Dear Mr. Daly:
In your letter dated September 9, 2003, on behalf of your client, Uniboard Surfaces Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling.
The ruling was requested on an installation kit for laminate flooring. The kit includes various materials to assist with the installation of laminate flooring. The products consist of an installation bar, an installation block, polyethylene foam, hardboard spacers, an instruction video and a printed instruction guide. The flooring is not included in the kit. The products are packed together in a box for retail sale.
A sample of the kit was submitted. The sample consists of a 34” x 11” x 5” cardboard box marked “Installation Kit for Glueless Laminate Flooring - Each kit covers 150 sq. ft. (14 m²).” The box contains a 32” wide roll of foamed polyethylene, a bag of 25 HDF (high density wood fiberboard) spacers consisting of small blocks each measuring approximately ¼” x 1” x 2”, a hardwood (maple) installation block consisting of a ¾” x 1-1/2” x 7-1/2” continuously shaped piece of wood, a metal installation bar, an instruction video and a printed instruction sheet consisting of one page printed on both sides. The polyethylene foam comprises almost the entire bulk of the box. According to a value breakdown in your letter, the polyethylene foam exceeds in value all of the other products combined.
You state that the products in the installation kit are a combination of items put up together as a set for retail sale. You believe that the principles of General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3 apply and that the products should be classified together as a set. Further, you suggest that none of the products impart the essential character of the set and therefore, following GRI 3(c), the set should be classified as a metal handtool in subheading 8205.59.3000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).
GRI 3 provides for the classification of mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale. One of the requirements for products to be considered “goods put up in sets for retail sale” is that they are put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity.
Although related by the flooring (which is not included), the actual purposes of the products in the subject installation kit are different. The spacers, block and bar will be used together to install laminate flooring. The polyethylene foam will be used as underlayment for flooring. Further, the polyethylene foam is in material roll form and not dedicated for a specific activity with the installation products. We find that the subject kit has the nature of a collection of materials to be used in general with flooring. Consequently, the products are not classifiable as a set under GRI 3 and each product in the kit will be classified separately.
The applicable subheading for the hardwood installation block will be 4409.20.9000, HTSUSA, which provides for wood continuously shaped along any of its edges, ends or faces, whether or not planed, sanded or end-jointed; nonconiferous, other. The general rate of duty will be free.
The applicable subheading for the high density fiberboard spacers (assumed to have a density exceeding 0.8 grams per cubic centimeter) will be 4411.11.0095, HTSUSA, which provides for fiberboard of wood or other ligneous materials; of a density exceeding 0.8g/cm³, not mechanically worked or surface covered. The general rate of duty will be free.
The applicable subheading for the rolls of foamed polyethylene will be 3921.19.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics; cellular, other. The general rate of duty will be 6.5 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for the metal installation bar will be 8205.59.3000, HTSUSA, which provides for other handtools; crowbars, track tools and wedges, and parts thereof. The general rate of duty will be free.
The applicable subheading for the instruction video will be 8524.53.1040, HTSUSA, which provides for records, tapes, and other recorded media; other magnetic tapes, of a width exceeding 6.5 mm; video tape recordings of a width not exceeding 16 mm, in cassettes. The general rate of duty will be free.
The instruction sheet, as represented by the sample, does not meet the description in your letter of an instruction booklet with a relatively high value (higher than any of the other installation products other than the polyethylene foam). Consequently, your inquiry does not provide enough information for us to give a classification for this product. Your request for a classification of this product should include the appropriate sample or a revised description or an explanation of the apparent discrepancy. When this information is available, you may wish to consider resubmission of your request for a ruling for this product. If you decide to resubmit your request, please include all of the material that we have returned to you.
The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise description as identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.
This ruling is being issued under the assumption that the subject goods, in their condition as imported into the United States, conform to the facts and the description as set forth both in the ruling request and in this ruling. In the event that the facts or merchandise are modified in any way, you should bring this to the attention of Customs and you should resubmit for a new ruling in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2. You should also be aware that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by the Customs Service.
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