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HQ 953012

February 4, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 953012 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 8504.10.00

Ms. Linda Campanian
Milne & Craighead
200 International Boulevard
P.O. Box 2
Sweetgrass, MT 59484

RE: Canterra Electronics International, Inc.; Fluorescent Lamp Ballast; Electrical Static Converter; Alternating Current Converter

Dear Ms. Campanian:

This is in reply to your letter of October 2, 1992, requesting classification of the Canterra Electronics International "fluorescent lamp ballast," under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The submitted literature states that the instant merchandise is the most recent technological advancement in ballast design which replaces the core and coil type of ballast (transformer) with solid state electronic circuitry.

The principal of operation of this merchandise is as follows: The solid state ballast receives low frequency alternating current (AC) line voltage and converts it into a direct current (DC) voltage. The DC voltage is then converted back into a high frequency AC of approximately 25 kHz. This high frequency power raises the efficiency of the phosphor coating of the lamp. Therefore, fewer watts are needed to produce the same amount of light. Additionally, the ballast operates at a much higher power conversion efficiency, resulting in less heat than standard coil and core ballasts.

The ballast components are as follows: 1 plastic cover, 1 sheet metal base, 1 printed circuit board, 34 capacitors 37 resistors, 24 diodes, 8 transistors, 5 inductors, 3 integrated circuits, 2 connectors, and 1 fuse.


What is the classification of a solid state fluorescent lamp ballast, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States


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:

...classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...

Subheading 8504.10.00, HTSUS, provides for: "[e]lectrical transformers, static converters (for example, rectifiers) and inductors: [b]allasts for discharge lamps or tubes." The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the HTSUS, page 1337, regarding electrical transformers, state in pertinent part:


Electrical transformers are apparatus which, without having any moving parts, transform, by means of induction and using a preset or adjustable system, an alternating current into another alternating current of different voltage, impedance, etc. These usually consist of two or more coils of insulated wire wound on laminated iron cores...

However, the instant solid state ballasts do not operate solely on the principal of coils, which is indicative of transformers. Whereas, the ENs, page 1338, also under heading 8504, HTSUS, state that "Electrical Static Converters" provide for "Alternating current converters and cycle converters by which alternating current (single or polyphase) is converted to a different frequency or voltage." The instant ballasts do meet this description. Therefore, they are classifiable in heading 8504, HTSUS.

The court in NEC America, Inc. v. United States, 8 CIT 184, 186 (1984), stated "[i]t must also be remembered that the tariff statutes were enacted 'not only for the present but also for the future, thereby embracing articles produced by technologies which may not have been employed or known to commerce at the time of the enactment * * *.'" citing Corporacion Sublistatica, S.A. v. United States, 1 CIT 120, 126, 511 F.Supp. 805, 809 (1981); See also Davis Turner & Co. v. United States, 45 CCPA 39, 41, C.A.D. 669 (1957). See Simmon Omega, Inc. v. United States, 83 Cust. Ct. 14, C.D. 4815 (1979), and Trans-Atlantic Co. v. United States, 471 F. 2d 1397, 60 CCPA 100, C.A.D. 1088 (1973), in which the courts have
held that technological advancements and "improvement in the design of an article does not militate against its continuing to be a form of the named articles."

Therefore, although the instant ballasts utilize solid state technology, it is Customs position that they still fall within the scope of heading 8504, HTSUS, which provides for electrical static converters, and represent a technological advancement in lamp ballasts.


The Canterra Electronics International solid state fluorescent lamp ballast is classifiable in subheading 8504.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical transformers, static converters (for example, rectifiers) and inductors: [b]allasts for discharge lamps or tubes."


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