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HQ 087693

November 13, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087693 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 9613.80.20

Mr. Mark Ota
NGK Spark Plugs (USA) Inc.
1200 Business Center
Suite 300
Mt. Prospect, IL 60056

RE: Piezoelectric igniter; Heading 9613; Explanatory Note 96.13(2); Explanatory Note 96.13; Subheading 9613.80.20; Nippon Kogaku (USA), Inc. v. United States; C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States; lighter.

Dear Mr. Ota:

In a letter dated July 23, 1990, Meiko America, Inc. requested a tariff classification for the "piezoelectric igniter" on your behalf. Their request was forwarded to this office for reply.


The article at issue is a "piezoelectric igniter" which is used as a gas ignition device. It operates on the principle of piezoelectricity. When the red button is depressed on the igniter, a flow of electric current is generated which produces a spark. This spark is used to ignite a flame on devices such as outdoor gas grills and heaters.


What is the proper tariff classification of the igniter in question within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


Heading 9613, HTSUSA, provides for "[c]igarette lighters and other lighters, whether or not mechanical or electrical, and
parts thereof . . ." This heading includes electrical lighters in which current from the mains or a battery produce a spark. Explanatory Note (EN) 96.13(2). The lighters classified in this heading may be designed for fitting to gas stoves, etc. EN 96.13. The igniter at issue is operated by the depression of a button, which generates a flow of electric current that then produces a spark. The igniters are fitted in an outdoor grill or heater so that the spark will light a gas flame. Accordingly, the igniter at issue satisfies the terms of this heading. More specifically, the igniter is provided for within subheading 9613.80.20, HTSUSA, as an electrical lighter.

This conclusion is also supported by the common meaning of the term lighter. Tariff terms are construed in accordance with their common and commercial meaning. Nippon Kogaku (USA), Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F.2d 380 (1982). The common meaning of a tariff term 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). A "lighter" is described as "[o]ne that ignites something." Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary, (1984). In addition, a "lighter" is described as "[o]ne who or that which lights or ignites." The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, (unabridged edition 1983). Furthermore, a "lighter" is described as "[a] device for lighting a fire." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, (unabridged 1986). The article at issue ignites a gas flame by the use of a spark. This type of device satisfies the common meaning of the term "lighter".


The igniter in question is properly classifiable within subheading 9613.80.20, HTSUSA, which provides for "[o]ther lighters: [e]lectrical.", currently dutiable at the rate of 3.9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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