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HQ 088232

March 15, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088232 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 9405.40.80; 8531.10.00

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
300 South Ferry St. Terminal Is
San Pedro, CA 90731

RE: Protest No. 2704-89-003849, dated 8/14/89; Motion Sensor Lighting System; Convenience Light; Security Light; 9405; 8531

Dear Sir:

This is our response regarding Further Review of Protest No. 2704-89-003849, dated August 14, 1989, which pertains to the classification of a "Motion Sensor Light Control," under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue is the Heath/Zenith brand "Motion Sensor Light Control," model 5310A, imported from Taiwan. Each kit consists of a rectangular plastic control module with a passive infrared sensor, two metal flood light fixtures, and a wall mounting bracket. The infrared sensor automatically turns on the floodlights when it detects movement up to 70' away in a 110 degree arc. This light control also has "manual override" and can be operated manually with an on and off switch. It appears that the primary component material is of other than base metal. The spotlights themselves are not included with this 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 particularly provides for lamps for exterior lighting. EN 94.05(I)(1).

The motion sensor 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 Letters HQ 080758 (June 24, 1988), HQ 085974 (November 3, 1989), and HQ 087838 (December 7, 1990). These rulings dealt with the classification of "automatic security lights," a "motion detector light kit," and a "motion sensor light control system," all of which are almost identical to the article in question. In these cases, Customs ruled that this class of lighting control devices does not qualify as signalling apparatus but instead is properly classifiable in the provision for illuminating articles. These rulings were based on the rationale of Oxford International Corporation v. United States, 75 Cust. Ct. 58, C.D. 4608 (1975). In Oxford the court defined the scope of signalling apparatus and determined that it encompasses only those devices whose function it is to call attention to temporary or abnormal conditions.

You argue that the article in question is a type of "visual signalling burglar alarm" which is classifiable within heading 8531. You cite 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). (Emphasis added).

Although the article in question may be partially intended to utilize automatic lamps to frighten or dissuade a burglar,
it does not actually signal because its function is not to call attention to temporary or abnormal conditions. Instead, it functions primarily 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 perform any particular "signalling" function, other than illumination. The fact that the article in question also can be used for security purposes does not negate the predominant convenience and safety uses of the item. Therefore, the article in question is properly classifiable under heading 9405, which provides for electric lamps and lighting fittings.

The motion sensor light control is a good consisting of both metal and plastic materials. However, the plastic components are six times the value of the metal components. Additionally, the component which imparts the essential character of this article is that of the sensor unit, which is comprised of plastic. Only the fittings are comprised of metal. Therefore, the motion sensor light control is classifiable under the provision for electric lamp and lighting fittings of other than base metal.


The Heath/Zenith brand "Motion Sensor Light Control," model 5310A, imported from Taiwan, 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.

Since reclassification of the merchandise as indicated above will result in the same rate as one of the rates claimed, you should allow the protest in full. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Form 19 Notice of Action.


John Durant, Director

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