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HQ 957553

March 20, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 957553 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 9405.30.00

Michael R. Doram, Esq.
Politis, Pollack & Doram
3255 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1688
Los Angeles, CA 90010

RE: Light sets, electric; Composite goods: Essential character; HRL's 952913, 953932, 9557578

Dear Mr. Doram;

In a letter dated December 15, 1994, on behalf of Primal Lite Inc., you inquired as to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of decorative electric light sets known as "Wedding Light Sets." Descriptive literature as well as a sample of style no. 2212 was submitted for examination.


The electric light sets involved are described as follows:

(a) style no. 2212 is an electric light set combined with ten taffeta covered cones. Each cone is adorned with ribbons of simulated flower buds as well as a bow of satin ribbon;

(b) style no. 2220 is an electric light set combined with twenty cone shades formed to resemble a lily flower. Each cone shade is adorned with a bow of satin ribbon. The style is packaged in a flexible polyethylene bag;

(c) style no. 2221 is an electric light set combined with ten lily-shaped cones, each adorned with a bow of satin ribbon. This style is also packaged in a flexible polyethylene bag.

According to the literature, these articles are designed and advertized as decorations for weddings and wedding receptions.


Are the subject light sets classifiable under subheading 9405.30.00, HTSUS, as lighting sets of a kind used for Christmas trees or under subheading 9405.40.80, HTSUS, as other electric lamps and lighting fittings, other?


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 headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's]." 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 electric light sets are not of a kind used for Christmas trees for the following reasons:

(a) the articles are designed exclusively for decorative use in connection with weddings. They are marketed and sold solely as decorative lights for weddings.

(b) the marketing and advertising is accomplished through channels which have no connection to Christmas tree lights.

(c) one of the design features is that the covers are not readily removable, and the light string cannot be conveniently put to some other use.

Following GRI 3(b), HTSUS, you assert that the essential character of the merchandise, at the subheading level, is imparted by the decorative ribbons and cones, rather than the electric light sets. Consequently, the merchandise is properly classifiable under subheading 9405.40.80, HTSUS, as other electric lamps and lighting fittings, other.

Further, you suggest that if there is no one component that imparts the essential character to the merchandise, it should be still be classified, following GRI 3(c), under subheading 9405.40.80, HTSUS, as " . . . the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration."

It is our position that we need not proceed beyond GRI 1 to classify this merchandise. A GRI 3 analysis is not necessary in this instance because Customs has ruled that lighting fittings ten feet in length, incorporating as few as ten bulbs, were of a kind used for Christmas trees. See HRL 955758 dated April 15, 1994. Further, it was stated in HRL 953932 dated May 10, 1993, regarding the tariff classification of similar merchandise, viz., an electric Halloween light set that "in the trade the wire harness with light sockets and bulbs and without the covers is of the kind known as a Christmas tree lighting set." Reference was also made to HRL 952913 dated April 26, 1993, wherein we also held that a 10 foot lighting set with Halloween decorations was classified under subheading 9405.30.00, HTSUS. Although in this instance, the cone-shape covers with the ribbons are not as easily removed as the plastic Halloween covers, the subject merchandise is still basically, noting its size and primary construction, a lighting set of the kind used for Christmas trees.


The light sets are of a kind used for Christmas trees.

Pursuant to GRI 1, HTSUS, the electric light sets, known as the "Wedding Lights," style numbers 2212,2220 and 2221, are specifically provided for under subheading 9405.30.00, HTSUS. The applicable rate of duty for this provision is of 8% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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