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HQ 085074

November 3, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085074 AJS


TARIFF NO: 8531.10.00; 9405.40.80

Brenda A. Jacobs, Esq.
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. 1707 L Street, N.W.
Suite 725
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Motion Detector Light Kit

Dear Ms. Jacobs:

Your letter of July 7, 1989, on behalf of your client the K Mart Corporation, requesting a tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), has been referred to this office for reply.


The article in question is a "Motion Detector Light Kit", model 1291. The device is an electrical lighting fixture consisting of fittings for two floodlights, a mounting bracket and an infrared sensor contained within a control module. The infrared sensor automatically turns on the floodlights when it detects a change in temperature caused by a moving person or object within an area of 40 feet by 56 feet. The sensor activated floodlights can be set to illuminate an area for 30 seconds to 15 minutes. The device can also be operated manually with an on and off switch. It appears that the primary component material is of other than base metal. Lastly, the spotlights are not included with the fixture.


Whether the article in question is classifiable within heading 9405, HTSUSA, which provides for "[l]amps and lighting fittings including searchlights and spotlights and parts thereof, not elsewhere specified or included; . . ."; or within heading

8531, HTSUSA, which provides for "[e]lectric sound or visual signalling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator panels, burglar or fire alarms), . . . ; parts thereof."


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 9405 provides for lamps and lighting fittings. Explanatory Note (EN) 94.05(I) states that the lamps and lighting fittings of this heading can be constituted of any material and use any source of light. This heading covers in particular lamps for exterior lighting. EN 94.05(I)(1). The article in question automatically turns on floodlights which illuminate an outdoor area. Therefore, the article would appear to be described by the terms of this heading. More specifically, it is provided for in subheading 9405.40.80, HTSUSA, which covers "[o]ther electric lamps and lighting fittings."

This conclusion is supported by Ruling Letter HQ 080758, of June 24, 1988. This ruling dealt with the classification of "automatic security lights" which are almost identical to the article in question. In this case, Customs ruled that automatic security lights did not qualify as signalling apparatus but instead were classifiable as illuminating articles. This ruling was based on the rationale of Oxford International Corporation v. United States, 75 Cust. Ct. 58, C.D. 4608 (1975). Oxford defined the scope of signalling apparatus as encompassing only those devices whose function is to call attention to temporary or abnormal conditions. While HQ 080758 dealt with classification under the Tariff Schedule of the United States (TSUS), the provision claimed by the importer in that instance is virtually identical to the HTSUSA provision which you claim is controlling in this instance.

You claim that the article in question is a type of "visual signalling burglar alarm" which is classifiable within heading 8531. Your conclusion is based on the ENs for heading 8531 which state that this heading "covers all electric apparatus used for signalling purposes, whether using sound for the transmission of the signal (bells, hooters, etc.) or using visual indication (lamps, flaps, illuminated numbers, etc.), and whether operated by hand (e.g. door bells) or automatically (e.g., burglar alarms). While the article in question uses lamps for visual indication and operates automatically, it does not properly
signal because its function is not to call attention to temporary or abnormal conditions. Instead, it functions to illuminate an outdoor area. The result of this illumination is to provide lighting for the homeowner, guests, or anyone else who approaches the area. The illumination is steady and does not blink or do anything, other than illuminate. The fact that the article in question also can be used for security purposes does not negate the convenience and safety uses of the item.

In conclusion, the article in question is an electric lamp and lighting fitting within the meaning of heading 9405. It cannot be classified as an electrical visual signalling apparatus because it does not call attention to temporary or abnormal conditions. Instead, it functions merely to automatically illuminate a given area upon the approach of a person who most likely will be the homeowner, guest, or some one else legally entitled to be on the premises.


The article in question is classifiable within subheading 9405.40.80, HTSUSA, which provides for electric lamp and lighting fittings of other than base metal. These items are dutiable at 3.9 percent ad valorem. However, if the article is of base metal then classification is within subheading 9405.40.60, HTSUSA, dutiable at 7.6 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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