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HQ 955160

April 1, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955160 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8512.20.40

Ms. Mona Webster
Target Stores
33 South Sixth Street
P.O. Box 1392
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55440-1392

RE: Automobile Emergency Light; NY 881525 revoked; NY 860428; NY 860561; Section XVI, note 3; GRI 3(c); chapter 94, note 1(f)

Dear Ms. Webster:

This is in response to your letter of October 7, 1993, requesting reconsideration of NY 881525, dated January 19, 1993, which concerned the classification of an automobile emergency light (style 27306) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. No. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter "section 625"), notice of the proposed revocation of NY 881525 was published February 16, 1994, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 28, Number 7.


The article in question is a plastic, oval-shaped, magnetic automobile emergency light. The light measures approximately 3.5 inches in height by 2.5 inches in width at its widest dimension. It possesses a swivel spotlight and amber flasher which are activated by two "on-off" switch mechanisms. It has a magnetic base and self-contained electrical cord that is designed to be inserted into the vehicle's cigarette lighter. The light is stored in a vinyl storage case.

In NY 881525, the light was held to be classifiable as other electric lamps and lighting fittings under subheading 9405.40.80, HTSUS. You contend that they are classifiable as electrical lighting equipment of a kind used on motor vehicles under subheading 8512.20.20, HTSUS.


Whether the automobile emergency light is classifiable as other electric lamps and lighting fittings under subheading 9405.40.80, HTSUS.


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 that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

The headings at issue are as follows:

8512 Electrical lighting and signaling equipment (excluding articles of heading 8539), windshield wipers, defrosters and demisters, of a kind used for cycles or motor vehicles; parts thereof

9405 Lamps and lighting fittings including searchlights and spotlights and parts thereof, not elsewhere specified or included . . .

Note 1(f) to chapter 94, HTSUS, states that chapter 94 does not cover lamps or lighting fittings of chapter 85. Thus, if the light in question is classifiable under heading 8512, HTSUS, it cannot be classified under heading 9405, HTSUS.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings.

EN 85.12, pg. 1349, states that heading 8512, HTSUS, "covers electrical apparatus and appliances specialised for use on cycles or motor vehicles for lighting or signalling purposes." In NY 860428, dated February 28, 1991, and NY 860561, dated March 5, 1991, a worklight and spotlight were held to be classifiable as other lighting equipment of a kind used for motor vehicles under subheading 8512.20.20, HTSUS.

It is our opinion that the light in question is principally used with motor vehicles, and is also classifiable under heading 8512, HTSUS. However, unlike the lights in NY 860428 and NY - 3 -

860561, the light in question performs both a lighting and signaling function. Visual signaling equipment for motor vehicles is classifiable under subheading 8512.20.40, HTSUS. Accordingly, the light is prima facie classifiable under both subheading 8512.20.20 (lighting equipment) and 8512.20.40 (visual signaling equipment), HTSUS.

Note 3 to section XVI, HTSUS, provides that "machines adapted for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as . . . being that machine which performs the principal function." In this instance, neither the lighting nor signaling function can be considered the principal function, as the light possesses a swivel spotlight/amber flasher which equally permits the use of either function. Therefore, it is necessary to resort to GRI 3.

GRI 3, which is made applicable at the subheading level by GRI 6, states that when "goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:"

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description . . . . (b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.
(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

The light in question is not classifiable according to either GRI 3(a) (neither subheading is more specific) or 3(b) (no single component provides the article with its essential character). Therefore, the light is classifiable according to GRI 3(c) under subheading 8512.20.40, HTSUS.


The automobile emergency light is classifiable under subheading 8512.20.40, HTSUS. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 2.7% ad valorem. Accordingly, NY 881525, dated January 19, 1993, is revoked.

In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days after publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR


John Durant, Director

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