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HQ 086628

July 3, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086628 KWM


TARIFF: 9405.10.6010

District Director
U.S. Customhouse
127 North Water Street
Ogdensburg, New York 13669

Attn: SIS C.L. Noyes

RE: Decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 0712-9-000612; Marine Lights; Essential character of base metal

Dear Sir:

This protest was filed against your decision in the liquidation of five entries:

Entry Entered Liquidated
all of which covered shipments of "marine lights" produced in Italy and imported via Quebec, Canada. Our decision follows.


The goods at issue here are described as "marine lights." The literature provided indicates that several models are available, differing in shape and color. Certain models have a wire "guards" which are designed to protect the glassware from breakage or damage. In all other respects the lamps are functionally identical. The lamps are intended to be wall mounted either indoors or outdoors. The "weather proof" or "water tight" feature indicates that they are suited for use in wet areas.

All of the entries at issue here were liquidated on the same date. The port of entry classified the goods under the provision for lamps and lighting fixtures in heading 9405, HTSUSA. This finding is not in dispute. However, the port further classified the lamps under the subheading for electric wall lighting of base metal:

9405 Lamps and lighting fittings . . .

9405.10 Chandeliers and other electric ceiling or wall lighting fittings . . .
Of base metal . . .

9405.10.60 Other

9405.10.6010 Household

(emphasis added). Protestant believes that the subject lamps are more properly provided for under the provision for electric wall lighting of glass:

9405 Lamps and lighting fittings . . .

9405.10 Chandeliers and other electric ceiling or wall lighting fittings . . .

9405.10.80 Other . . .

9405.10.8010 Household

(emphasis added). The goods were liquidated on August 25th, 1989, and the protest timely filed on September 28, 1989, within the 90 day limit prescribed by 19 CFR 174.12(e). The protest was forwarded to this office by the Regional Director, having been deemed to qualify for further review under the provision of 19 CFR 174.24(b). After review of the material and sample submitted, we find that the protest should be denied.


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.

GRI 1 is applicable in this case for classification of the marine lamps at both the four- and six-digit levels of the HTSUSA. There is no dispute that the provision for lamps and light fittings, specifically ceiling and wall lighting fittings, describe these items by the heading terms. However, further subheading classification requires a finding that the lamps are either "of base metal" or of "other" materials. The lamps at issue here are composite goods, composed of two different materials: aluminum (a base metal) and glass (an "other" material). Following GRI's 2 and 3, the lamps will be considered, for classification purposes, to be "of" that material which provides their essential character.

The protestant's basic assertion is that the glass component:

. . . comprises a large amount of the visible surface area, forms the entire front, provides a visual and significant decorative effect, and weights [sic] over 50% of the entire article.
and therefore establishes essential character. According to the figures submitted, the glass contributes 2.9 pounds to the total weight of 4.4 pounds. The remainder is made up of the metal base, the metal reflector and the wiring.

Essential character is based on a number factors. The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA indicate that weight, value, and the role that a constituent material plays, are among the considerations given to an essential character determination. In this case, the primary contributions of the glass are weight and visible surface area. In contrast, the base metal structure provides a great deal more. The sales literature indicates that the lamp has a "Rustproof Cast Aluminum Base" making it suitable for marine use. It has an "Inner Aluminum Diffuser" for increased lumen output. Further, the basic function of the lamp is to provide light, and this is made possible only by the metal wiring and fixtures under the glass. Lastly, the very structure of the lamp is the cast aluminum base, and the marine appearance is imparted no less by the metal base than by the glassware. This is especially true for those models equipped with the metal guard over the glass. In short, although the glass may be the most visible component, visibility is not the only criteria for classification in this case. The structure and function of the lamps is provided by the base metal components, and on balance, we find that these establish the essential character of the goods.

Having found that the base metal components provide the essential character, we are compelled to find that the lamps are made "of base metal" as provided for in subheading 9405.10.6010, HTSUSA.


We hold that the goods at issue, marine lamps, were properly classified under subheading 9405.10.6010, HTSUSA, which provides for lamps and lighting fittings, specifically electric ceiling or wall lighting fittings, of base metal. Further, we find that the protest should be denied.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the Form 19 Notice of Action to be sent to the protestant.


John A. Durant

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