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HQ 951855

July 24 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951855 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 8513.10.20

David A. Eisen, Esq.
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway
New York, New York 10036

RE: Light, portable; "Beam-N-Blink Light"; HRL 082933

Dear Mr. Eisen:

In a letter dated April 13, 1992, on behalf of your client, Avon Products, Inc., you inquired as to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a portable electrical lighting device. You state that the article, referred to as a "Beam-N-Blink light," will be produced in China and/or Taiwan. A sample was submitted for examination.


The sample is a cube-shaped, portable, plastic, battery operated lighting device. It measures approximately 2-3/4 inches by 2-3/4 inches by 2 inches. It consists of a filament bulb, a reflector, a clear plastic lens, and has a three position switch on one side and a textile carrying cord. In addition, there is a removable red tinted transparent plastic covering that fits over the fixed lens side of the unit.

Although no descriptive literature, advertising or marketing material or container for the article were furnished, you state that this device is designed to be used around automobiles as an emergency lighting device. Examination of the sample reveals that it has two functions. It acts as both a flashlight and an emergency blinker. Both functions, controlled by the switch, share a common power source and filament bulb.


Is the portable electrical lighting device classifiable under subheading 8513.10.40, HTSUS, as a portable electric lamp designed to function by its own source of energy, other than a flashlight or is it classifiable under subheading 8513.10.20, HTSUS, as a flashlight?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided such heading or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]." In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. GRI 6, HTSUS, requires that the GRI's be applied at the subheading level on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. The GRI's apply in the same manner when comparing subheadings within a heading.

You maintain that the device is an emergency lighting device which, pursuant to GRI 1, HTSUS, is eo nomine provided for in subheading 8513.10.40, HTSUS. The rationale for your position is that a physical examination of the product and the manner in which it will be marketed and sold shows that the product is intended to be used and purchased as an emergency lighting device for automobiles, rather than as a flashlight. Also, you claim that the red tinted covering detracts from any practical use as a flashlight as the light emitted is not as sharp and is less intensive than light from a flashlight.

You argue that even if Customs considers the product to be a composite good, it still must be classified under subheading 8513.10.40, HTSUS, following GRI 3(c), HTSUS, as " . . . the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration." Specifically, each component equally contributes to the versatility and multiple use of the merchandise and each is necessary to its intended use and function and therefore neither the blinking light nor the spotlight imparts the essential character.

As noted, we were not provided with descriptive literature, advertising or marketing material or the container in which the article reaches the ultimate consumer. Therefore, we are unable to assess how it will be marketed or sold. However, based upon our examination of the sample, we disagree with your suggested classification.

Legal Note (LN) 3 to Section XVI, HTSUS, reads in pertinent part as follows:

3. Unless the context otherwise requires . . . other machines adapted for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function.

LN 5 to Section XVI, HTSUS, reads as follows:

5. For the purposes of these notes, the expression "machine" means any machine, machinery, plant, equipment, apparatus or appliance cited in the headings of chapter 84 or 85.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUS, although not dispositive, should be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See 54 FR 35128 (August 23, 1989). General Section Note VI MULTI-FUNCTION MACHINES AND COMPOSITE MACHINES regarding HTSUS Section Note 3, at page 1132, provides in pertinent part that "[i]n general, multi-function machines are classified according to the principal function of the machine."

Based upon our examination of the sample, and the role the flashlight plays in relation to the overall use of the device, it is our opinion that the principal function of the "Beam-N-Blink Light" is that of a flashlight. We believe the emergency blinker is a secondary feature which probably adds to the salability of the article. However, as a practical matter, the lighting device would be purchased and used not as an emergency blinker but because it is a flashlight.

Subheading 8513.10.20, HTSUS, covers flashlights. Customs has defined flashlights as small battery-operated portable electric lights normally held in the hand by the housing itself, the primary function of which is to project a beam of light. Subheading 8513.10.40, HTSUS, covers all other portable electric lamps designed to function by their own source of energy. Here, the lighting device functions as a flashlight with an emergency blinker light. It is our view that the "other" of subheading 8513.10.40, HTSUS, does not cover the blinker light feature, but merely refers to portable lamps other than flashlights. Since the device in question projects a beam of light, is battery- operated and will be held in the hand by its housing, it meets the definition of a flashlight.

The removable red tinted transparent covering is not a part of the lighting device but is an accessory piece for use in conjunction with the blinker feature. The article itself has a clear plastic lens that emits light as sharp and intensified as any common flashlight. See Headquarters Ruling Letter 082933 dated August 4, 1989, wherein Customs classified another flashlight/signaling device in subheading 8513.10.20, HTSUS.


The "Beam-N-Blink" portable electric lighting device is properly classified as a flashlight under subheading 8513.10.20, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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