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HQ 950324

December 10, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950324 KWM


TARIFF NO.: 8513.10.4000

Mr. Samuel K. Liao
General Tech Corporation
2415 Midway Road, Suite 125
Carrollton, Texas 75006

RE: Hot Lights Body Signals; Composite good; belts; Wearing apparel; Made up textile article; Portable electric lamps.

Dear Mr. Liao:

This is in response to your inquiry dated July 18, 1991, regarding the tariff classification of merchandise named "Hot Lights Body Signals." Your request and a sample of the merchandise were forwarded to this office for a ruling.


The merchandise at issue is described as "Hot Lights Body Signals" according to the literature forwarded with your request. The sample article consists of a woven nylon belt with a plastic snap buckle and a fitting to adjust the size. Attached to the belt by a hook-and-loop fastener is a lighting unit which consists of a plastic battery/switch case attached to a nylon strip containing five red lights. Your inquiry also states that the product may be imported with a removable pouch made of woven nylon material. The pouch is designed to hold the lighting unit and/or the belt when not in use.

The literature describes the article for wear around the waist while walking, jogging, bicycling, etc., for the purposes of visibility. The literature also describes the product's suitability for use on pets. The belt, lighting unit and pouch are manufactured in Taiwan.


Is the Hot Lights Body Signal classified as belt in heading 6307 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) as a made up textile article, or in heading 8513, HTSUSA, as a portable electric lamp?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relevant Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

We find no tariff heading which provides for this article eo nomine. Therefore, Customs considers the Hot Lights Body Signal (Body Signal) to be a composite good consisting of the belt, the lighting unit and the pouch (when imported with the other articles). Composite articles are classified according to GRI 3, which states, in pertinent part that composite articles of different components are classified according to that component which provides the goods with their essential character.

In this case, we find that the essential character will be determined by the character of either the lighting unit or the belt. Customs has held that carrying pouches such as this, sold with a primary article, are classified with that primary article. The carrying pouch imported with the belt and lighting unit will therefore be classified with those components.

We have considered two headings for classification of this article: heading 6307, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up textile articles, and includes belts not having the character of accessories to wearing apparel, and heading 8513, HTSUSA, which provides for portable electric lamps designed to function by their own source of energy. Choosing between these headings, we find that the essential character of the Body Signal is imparted by the lighting unit. While the belt is used to attach the lighting unit to the body, and could arguably be used for other purposes, we find that the use of the article is clearly dependant on the lighting unit. The literature included with your letter shows that the central function of the good is for purposes of visibility. Without the lighting unit, the good cannot fulfill that function. An examination of the constituent role played by both components clearly weighs in favor of the lighting unit. Further, we note that the lighting unit has on one end a small hook which could arguably be used to attach the lighting unit to a belt or waistband, thereby negating the need for the belt entirely. Lastly, in determining essential character, Customs also considers other factors including weight and relative cost. We believe that both of these factors weigh in favor of the lighting unit.

Assuming, arguendo, that we consider both components to weigh equally in our essential character determination, GRI 3(c) provides that classification shall be made in that heading which occurs last in the nomenclature. In that case, the classification would again fall under heading 8513, HTSUSA.

You also requested a ruling with regard to the marking of the article. Your letter indicates that the Body Signal will be imported and retailed in a clear plastic package with a label inside the package. A copy of the label was included with your letter. We note that the sample is not marked with the country of origin, but that your letter indicates the final version will be so marked.

Articles comprising composite goods must generally be separately marked with their country of origin. See, T.D. 91- 7. However, in this case, since the pouch, the belt, and the lighting unit are each manufactured in Taiwan, one conspicuous, legible, and permanent marking on the article will suffice. Without a sample of the packaged article, we cannot determine whether marking the package in lieu of the article itself is sufficient. Generally, as article may be excepted from marking when it's container is marked and Customs is satisfied that the article will reach the ultimate purchaser only in the marked container.


The Hot Lights Body Signal is classified in subheading 8513.10.40, HTSUSA, which provides for portable electric lamps designed to function by their own source of energy (in this case dry cell batteries), lamps, other. The applicable rate of duty for this merchandise is 6.9 percent ad valorem.


John A. Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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