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HQ 953650

August 20, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 953650 GGD


TARIFF NO.: 3404.00.00; 3406.00.00; 9802.00.80

Mr. Min-Gee Hsia
San Francisco Candle Company
26239 Research Road
Hayward, California 94545

RE: Wax Columns and Decorated Wax Candle

Dear Mr. Hsia:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of February 1, 1993, on behalf of San Francisco Candle Co., concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), of separate articles identified as petroleum wax columns and wax candles to be imported from China. A sample of a decorated candle was submitted with your inquiry.


The first article consists of colored wax columns that are manufactured in China from wax slabs of U.S. origin. The columns are made by combining different colored layers of wax, then extruding the wax into columns measuring from one to eight feet in length. The inquirer has not specified the chemical content of the waxes, nor whether the products will consist of animal, vegetable, or mineral waxes, or combinations thereof. The candle making process following importation of the wax columns into the U.S. will involve heating and cutting the columns to desired lengths, pouring wax into and removing wax from molds, dipping, polishing, adding wicks, labeling, and packaging.

The second article, identified as sample no. 32242, consists of a sphere-shaped candle measuring approximately three inches in height. The interior or base portion, which comprises the bulk of the candle, consists of a plain colored wax sphere of U.S.
origin that is exported to China. In China, a decorative wax veneer, measuring approximately 1/8 inch in thickness, is applied to the base candle. The veneer's intricate designs are crafted by rolling sheets of colored wax into rods. The rods are then bundled and stretched to reduce their diameters. More rods are added, bundled, and stretched. The resulting conglomerate rod is then sliced into cross sections or veneer disks. The disks are applied to the surface of the base candle and cooled. The finished candle is then imported into the U.S.


1) Whether the articles are classified in heading 3404, HTSUSA, as artificial waxes and prepared waxes; or in heading 3406, HTSUSA, as candles, tapers and the like.

2) Whether the U.S.-origin wax and candles are entitled to duty exemptions under subheadings 9801.00.10 and/or 9802.00.80, HTSUSA.


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 relative 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 GRIs may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

Among other items, Chapter 34, HTSUSA, covers artificial waxes, prepared waxes, candles, and similar articles. The EN to Chapter 34 indicates that the chapter covers products mainly obtained by the industrial treatment of fats, oils or waxes. Heading 3404, HTSUSA, provides for artificial and prepared waxes. Note 5 to Chapter 34 states in pertinent part that the expression "artificial and prepared waxes" applies to products obtained by mixing different waxes. The ENs to heading 3404 indicate that the mixes may be of animal, vegetable, and mineral waxes, except
that mixtures consisting only of mineral waxes are excluded from the heading. The ENs relate that the heading also covers the above waxes if they are colored.

Heading 3406, HTSUSA, provides for candles, tapers and the like. The ENs to heading 3406 indicate that the heading covers these goods whether or not they are colored, perfumed, or decorated, and that such items (including ball or coiled tapers) are usually made of tallow, stearin, paraffin wax or other waxes. Although the term "candle" is not defined in the tariff, the American College Dictionary, 1970, states that a candle is a long, usually slender, piece of tallow, wax, etc., with an embedded wick, burned to give light.

The colored wax columns have no wicks, nor are they burned to give light. In order to transform the wax columns into candles, extensive processing is required. At the time of importation, these goods will consist essentially of artificial and/or prepared waxes, and are classified as such in subheading 3404.00.0000.

Although neither long nor slender, the sphere-shaped wax candle, which is both colored and decorated, has an embedded wick and may be burned to provide light. The candle's appearance and value are significantly advanced in China by the process adding the outer wax veneer. The article is classified in subheading 3406.00.0000, HTSUSA.

Subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUSA, provides for the duty-free entry of products of the U.S. that are returned after having been exported, without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means while abroad, provided there has been compliance with the documentary requirements of section 10.1, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.1).

In this case, various layers of U.S.-origin wax slabs are combined and extruded in China for the purpose of forming shapes that are more workable for the bulk of the manufacturing processes yet to occur in the U.S. The combining and extruding of waxes are manufacturing processes which advance in value and improve in condition the U.S.-origin wax slabs. Therefore, when imported, the wax columns will not be entitled to duty-free treatment under subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUSA. The U.S.-origin, plain wax (interior) candle exported to China is also returned to the U.S. in an improved condition and advanced in value through manufacturing processes abroad. The candle is not entitled to duty-free treatment under subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUSA.

With respect to whether the articles are entitled to a duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, we note that the provision allows a partial duty exemption for:
articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States, which (a) were exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication, (b) have not lost their physical identity in such articles by change in form, shape or otherwise, and (c) have not been advanced in value or improved in condition abroad except by being assembled and except by operations incidental to the assembly process such as cleaning, lubricating and painting.

An article entered under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, is subject to duty upon the full value of the imported assembled article, less the cost or value of such U.S. components, upon compliance with the documentation requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).

Section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), provides that the assembly operation performed abroad may consist of any method used to join or fit together solid components, such as welding, soldering, riveting, force fitting, gluing, laminating, sewing, or the use of fasteners.

Operations incidental to the assembly process are not considered further fabrication operations, as they are of a minor nature and cannot always be provided for in advance of the assembly operations. However, any significant process, operation or treatment whose primary purpose is the fabrication, completion, physical or chemical improvement of a component precludes the application of the exemption under HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80 to that component. See, 19 CFR 10.16(c).

We previously determined that the U.S.-origin wax slabs undergo significant manufacturing processes in China which constitute a further fabrication and result in a change in the U.S. product's shape. Therefore, the wax columns are not entitled to duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA.

On the other hand, the base candle is exported to China in a condition ready for the foreign assembly process, and its physical identity is not lost by any change in form, shape, or
otherwise. It is our determination that the method by which the foreign-origin, decorative veneer component is joined to the U.S.-origin candle, constitutes an acceptable process of assembly for purposes of duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA.


The colored wax columns are classified under subheading 3404.00.0000, HTSUSA, the provision for "Artificial waxes and prepared waxes." The general column one duty rate applicable to this merchandise is dependent upon the chemical makeup of the waxes.

The decorated wax candle is classified under subheading 3406.00.00, HTSUSA, the provision for "Candles, tapers and the like." The general column one duty rate applicable to this merchandise is 5.8 percent.

Neither the U.S.-origin waxes nor the decorated wax candle are entitled to duty exemptions under subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUSA. The U.S.-origin waxes are not entitled to a duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA. The decorated wax candle is entitled to a duty allowance under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, assuming compliance with the documentation requirements set forth in 19 CFR 10.24.


John Durant, Director

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