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HQ 952561

November 24, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952561 EJD


TARIFF NO: 9405.99.40

Mr. Robert B. Silverman
Grunfeld, Desiderio,
Lebowitz & Silverman
12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017

RE: Ornamental ceramic lamp body; Parts of lamps; GRI 2(a); HQs 076523, 084141, 084142, 086338, 734503, 951963; Subheadings 9405.20.80, 9405.50; Daisy-Heddon; ENs to 94.05

Dear Mr. Silverman:

This is in response to your letter of July 31, 1992, to Customs in New York, on behalf of Murray Feiss Import Corp., concerning the classification of ornamental ceramic lamp bodies under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter was referred to this office for a response. You have also furnished a sample of an ornamental ceramic lamp body for our examination.


The subject merchandise is an ornamental ceramic article in the shape of a vase with a hole drilled in the bottom, converting it into an article suitable for use as a lamp body. It is manufactured in China. The article is molded and fired in a kiln then hand painted and kiln fired several times to achieve the intricate and multilayered design work reflected in the finished product.

After importation into the United States, the ornamental ceramic lamp body is combined with a socket, riser, vase cap, base, cord set, harp and miscellaneous parts to produce a finished electrical lamp.


Is the ornamental ceramic lamp body an unfinished lamp or part of a lamp?


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

GRI 2(a) states that:

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 shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

You maintain that as imported, by virtue of GRI 2(a), the subject merchandise should be classified as other lamps under subheading 9405.20.80, HTSUS, and not as other parts of lamps under subheading 9405.99.40, HTSUS. You contend that the imported lamp body should be classified as an unfinished lamp, based on its cost in relation to the cost of the other parts required to make a finished lamp.

You then argue that Daisy-Heddon, Div. Victor Comptometer Corp. v. The United States, 66 CCPA 97, 600 F.2d 799, C.A.D. 1228 (1979) supports your belief that the merchandise has the essential character of the complete or finished article. You argue that considerably more time and effort was devoted to crafting the lamp body than was spent attaching the additional components after importation. The intricate painting of the lamp body is a process requiring many hours of skilled labor, while attaching the remaining components requires only half an hour of unskilled labor. You state that the lamp body represents approximately 86.6 percent of the total cost of the components and labor required to make the finished lamp and that this supports the proposition that the imported lamp body is a substantially complete lamp. You believe that the results of these comparisons clearly support the proposition that the imported merchandise is a substantially complete lamp.

The foregoing notwithstanding, we are of the opinion that the ornamental ceramic lamp body is not an unfinished lamp but a part of a lamp. Regardless of the guidelines set forth in Daisy- Heddon, the Court clearly stated that the outcome of each case will always depend on the particular merchandise. It is our position that in this instance the lamp body is just one of a number of parts which make up a lamp regardless of its value or ornate character. Absent the hole drilled in the bottom, the article appears to be the type of item used as an ornamental vase.

You maintain that Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 734503, dated July 20, 1992, supports your position. In HQ 734503, Customs determined the country of origin marking for a crystal lamp assembled in the United States. In that case, like here, the crystal piece was imported into the U.S. ready to be incorporated into a finished lamp. In HQ 734503, the issue was whether the cut crystal piece was substantially transformed when assembled with other lamp components. Customs ruled that the "crystal base piece is not substantially transformed when it is combined together with other components to make a lamp."

However, in HQ 734503 Customs dealt with the issue of substantial transformation of lamp parts, not with the classification of lamp parts. It is our opinion that this case has minimal application to the instant case.

Finally, you argue that although the merchandise may not be capable of radiating light as imported, the configuration of the hole in the ceramic lamp body precludes using the merchandise in any capacity other than as a lamp. You state that Customs has classified other imported merchandise as "lamps" under heading 9405, HTSUS. See HQ 076523, dated August 29, 1985; HQs 084141 and 084142, dated July 3, 1990 (brass or silver-plated brass candlesticks); and HQ 086338, dated April 6, 1990 (candlestick holder of base metal).

Inasmuch as the articles which are the subject of these rulings are different from the subject article (they are finished candlestick holders without holes), we fail to see how these rulings apply in this case. The cited cases stand for the well known rule that merchandise is classifiable in its condition as imported. Furthermore, in HQ 951963, dated September 1, 1992, Customs stated the following:

While we do not dispute what the importer does with this article after importation, this item [a candlestick holder] is a not a "part" as defined in the ENs to Chapter 94. The candlestick holder is not solely or principally designed as a base for the finished table lamp. It is an established rule of Customs law that merchandise is classifiable in its condition as imported. In its imported form, the product is a finished candlestick holder. It is not a "part" of a lamp or lighting fitting classifiable under subheading 9405.99.20, HTSUS. The fact that many of the candlesticks will undergo manufacturing into an electric lamp after importation is irrelevant for classification purposes.

It is our position that the candlestick holders are properly classified under subheading 9405.50, HTSUS...[.] (Emphasis added.)

The Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HCDCS), although not dispositive, are to be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. The ENs to heading 94.05, HTSUS, state, in pertinent part, that:

The heading also covers identifiable parts of lamps and lighting fittings, illuminated signs, illuminated name- plates and the like, not more specifically covered elsewhere....

Non-electrical parts of articles of this heading, combined with electrical parts, remain classified here.

HCDCS, pp. 1581-1582.

It is our position that the ornamental ceramic lamp body is a non-electrical part of a lamp and is classifiable under the provision for parts of lamps.


The subject ornamental ceramic lamp body is classifiable under subheading 9405.99.40, HTSUS, which provides for:

Lamps and lighting fittings including searchlights and spotlights and parts thereof, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated signs, illuminated nameplates and the like, having a permanently fixed light source, and parts thereof not elsewhere specified or included...[p]arts...
with a rate of duty of 7.6 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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