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Newsletter

Presidential Proclamation Restores
Duty-Free Treatment To Certain Bamboo
Multilayered Flooring

April 23, 2008

On April 2, 2008, the President issued a Proclamation that restores duty-free treatment to certain types of multilayered bamboo flooring.  This type of flooring had been duty-free prior to the changes to the 2007 Harmonized Tariff System, which became effective February 3, 2007.  Due to an oversight, the duty-free treatment for this type of bamboo flooring was not carried over from the 2006 HTS to the 2007 HTS.  Thus, from February 3, 2007, until the Proclamation was issued, this type of bamboo flooring has been dutiable. 

In order to restore duty-free treatment, the Proclamation creates two new tariff items: 

  1. HTS 4412.1090, which provides for veneered panels and similar laminated wood, of bamboo, free of duty, and
  2. HTS 4418.72.91, which provides for multi-layered assembled flooring panels: of unidirectional bamboo, free of duty. 

In general, this Proclamation would not apply to so-called “engineered” bamboo flooring, which typically has a cross-band in its construction.

The Proclamation is retroactive back to February 3, 2007, when the 2007 HTS became effective. 

There is currently a court action pending in the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT) on engineered hardwood flooring whose outcome may affect the classification of engineered bamboo flooring, which is currently classified by Customs as “plywood.”  In this court action, the importer is challenging U.S. Customs’ position that certain engineered multi-layered hardwood flooring is classifiable under heading 4412 as “plywood” at the duty rate of 8%.  The current lawsuit contends that this type of flooring is duty-free and classifiable as other veneered panels and similar laminated wood under subheading 4412.29 (2006).  If the importer prevails in this litigation, the outcome of this court case could result in duty-free treatment for engineered bamboo flooring.

Pending the outcome of this litigation, importers of engineered bamboo flooring should take steps to protect their rights to receive refunds in the event that there is a favorable outcome to this court action.  Specifically, protests need to be filed on the applicable entries, and if denied, court actions need to be filed to keep the protests alive. 

If you have any questions on the issues raised in this newsletter, please contact Stephen Spraitzar at (415) 288-0427 or at sss@tuttlelaw.com.

Stephen S. 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.

Copyright 2008 by Tuttle Law Offices.

All rights reserved. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by our offices or by others, we do not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information and are not responsible for any errors, omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of such information.

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