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HQ 951719

June 26, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951719 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8536.50.00

Mr. Al Wyckoff
Charles A. Redden, Inc.
Hemisphere Center
Route 1 & 9 South
Newark, N.J. 07114

RE: Capless Starter Sub-assembly; EN 85.36; GRI 2(a)

Dear Mr. Wyckoff:

This is in response to your letter of March 30, 1992, requesting the classification of capless starter sub-assemblies under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter was referred to this office for a response. Your questions concerning the qualification of this merchandise under Heading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, or the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) have been referred to the Special Classification Branch at Headquarters. They will issue a separate ruling.


The articles in question are capless starter sub-assemblies. These sub-assemblies are composed of the following components: a disc; a glow bulb; capacitors; and solder. Once imported, outer shells will be added to the sub-assemblies to form a complete starter. The complete starter will be attached to a fluorescent light, where it will act as a switch.


Whether the capless starter sub-assemblies have the essential character of complete starters.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS
govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ." Heading 8536, HTSUS, provides for "[e]lectrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits . . . for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, they provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of proper interpretation of these headings. EN 85.36, pg. 1389, states that the apparatus for switching electrical circuits covered by Heading 8536, HTSUS, "consist essentially of devices for making or breaking one or more circuits in which they are connected, or for switching from one circuit to another." EN 85.36, pg. 1389, further states that Heading 8536, HTSUS, covers "automatic thermo-electric switches (starters) for starting fluorescent lamps."

The articles in question are capless starter sub-assemblies. As imported, they consist of a disc, a glow bulb, capacitors and solder. After importation, the sub-assemblies are further processed, by the addition of an outer shell, into a finished starter. This finished starter, which is attached to a fluorescent light, is covered by Heading 8536, HTSUS.

GRI 2(a) provides as follows:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article.

It is our opinion that the sub-assemblies in question have the "essential character" of complete starters. Thus, they are classifiable under Heading 8536, HTSUS, specifically under subheading 8536.50.00, HTSUS, which describes "other switches."


The articles in question are classifiable under subheading 8536.50.00, HTSUS, which provides for "[e]lectrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits . . . for a voltage
not exceeding 1,000 V . . . [o]ther switches." The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 5.3% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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