March 9, 2012
On July 26, 2011, the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) issued a decision that certain engineered wood flooring is properly classifiable as “plywood” at the 8% duty rate, rather than under the provision for “veneered panels,” “parquet panels,” or “builders’ joinery.” The flooring in issue consisted of multiple layers of wood which was designed to simulate the appearance of solid wood plank or strip flooring. It was imported solely for use as a finished floor covering and was ready for immediate installation at the time of importation, subject to minor trimming.
Despite the uniform testimony of the importer’s plywood and flooring experts that the imported flooring was not plywood, the CIT held that the flooring was classifiable as plywood, relying on the 2004 decision of Boen Hardwood Flooring v. The United States, 357 F.3d 1262 (Fed.Cir.2004) which held that certain engineered wood flooring fell within the definition of “plywood.”
An appeal was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) to contest this adverse decision of the CIT. The briefing at the CAFC is expected to be finished in Spring 2012, after which oral arguments will be heard.
Pending the outcome of this appeal, it is recommended that importers of multilayered engineered wood flooring file protests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to preserve their right to receive refunds in the event that there is a favorable decision for the importer contesting this appeal. If you need any more information with regard to this appeal or the process of filing a protest, please contact Stephen S. Spraitzar at Steve.Spraitzar@TuttleLaw.com or (415) 288-0427.
Stephen Spraitzar is an attorney with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle in San Francisco.
The information in this article is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence, and may not be considered as such.
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