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HQ 957754

October 19, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:M 957754 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 8475.10.00

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
1 E. Bay Street, Rm 104
Savanna, GA 31401

RE: Protest 1703-94-100050; Note 1(l) to Chapter 94; EN 84.75

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 1703-94-100050 concerning your action in classifying and assessing duty on certain machines incorporating mercury lamps under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The subject articles are described as a BM 3 color and PH 1 color Lighthouses. They are used for exposure of a phosphor screen through a shadow mask by ultra high pressure mercury lamp. According to diagrams submitted, both measure 3'4" long, 3'3" wide and 3'7" high and include a main body, control unit and power supply for a mercury lamp. The BM model weighs @ 992 lbs.. The PH model weighs @ 838 lbs..

According to protestant's letter of June 28, 1995, to Customs, the BM and PH lighthouses are one of the machines which are part of a color picture tube production. The subject machines incorporate mercury lamps which are mechanically inserted into unfinished color picture tubes which have been coated with photosensitive chemical emulsions, such as phosphorous. When exposed to light, a desired chemical reaction takes place and establishes individual colors for each pixel (red, blue or green). The mercury lamp which emits the light, is a replaceable part of the machine and is valued at @ $35. After insertion into the workpiece, the lamp is turned on and then turned off after the desired amount of exposure.

The subject articles were entered under subheading 9405.40.60, HTSUS, as other lamp and light fittings and the entries were liquidated as such on February 18, 1994. A protest, claiming the lighthouses are properly classified under subheading 8539.40.80, as ultraviolet lamps, was timely filed on April 28, 1994.

The subheadings under consideration and 1994 duty rates are as follows:

8539.40.80 Electrical filament or discharge lamps, including sealed beam lamp units and ultraviolet or infrared lamps; arc lamps; parts thereof: Ultraviolet or infrared lamps: Other..........................................................................3.7%

8475.10.00 Machines for assembling electric or electronic lamps, tubes or flashbulbs, in glass envelopes; machines for manufacturing or hot working glass or glassware; parts thereof: Machines for assembling electric or electronic lamps, tubes or flashbulbs, in glass envelopes...........................................................................................3.7%

9405.40.80 Lamps and lighting fittings including searchlights and spotlights and parts thereof, not elsewhere specified or included; illuminated signs, illuminated nameplates and the like, having a permanently fixed light source, and parts thereof not elsewhere specified or included: Other electric lamps and lighting fittings: Other.............3.9%


Whether the subject machine is classifiable as a lamp or a machine for assembling electric tubes?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1, HTSUS, states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Protestant argues that the subject articles are not classifiable as other lamps and lighting fittings because they are more specifically described in chapter 85 as ultraviolet mercury lamps. We agree that the lighthouses are not classifiable as other lamps and lighting fittings. Neither, however are they classifiable as ultraviolet mercury lamps.

In understanding the language of the headings and subheadings the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System may be utilized. The ENS, although not dispositive, or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See, T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN 84.75 page 1309 states, in pertinent part, that:

The heading covers machines for assembling electric or electronic lamps, tubes or valves or flash-bulbs, in glass envelopes. It also includes machines for manufacturing or hot working glass or glassware (other than furnaces of heading 84.17 or 85.14).

The lighthouses are machines which are part of a color picture tube production line. In their condition as imported, they are not merely ultraviolet lamps of heading 8539. Rather, a mercury light within the lighthouses contributes to their function. In their operation, the subject lighthouses use the heat and light of a phosphorous coated mercury lamps to cause a desired chemical reaction. The resulting chemical reaction caused by the combination of the phosphorous and the heat and light of the mercury lamp establishes individual colors for each pixel. Furthermore, the value of the ultraviolet lamp is diminutive. In the PH model, the mercury lamp is less than .006% of the value of the entire lighthouse. In the BM model it is less than .002%. Therefore, the lighthouses are classifiable under heading 8475, specifically subheading 8475.10.00, HTSUS.


As the reclassification of the merchandise as indicated above will result in a lower rate of duty than claimed, the protest should be GRANTED. The lighthouses are classifiable under subheading 8475.10.00, HTSUS. Their corresponding column one duty rate for 1994 is 3.7% ad valorem.

In accordance with Section 3A (11) (b) of Customs Directive 0993550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Ruling Module, ACS, and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals Division

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