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HQ 958354

December 8, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC: MM 958354 MMC


TARIFF NO.: 8527.19.50

RE: MLN Multi-Purpose Lantern; AM/FM Radio/Siren/lighting device; GRI 3(c); HQs 087161, 952494, 952797

Mr. David M. Rickert
E. Besler & Company
P.O. Box 66361,
Chicago, IL 60666-0361

Dear Mr. Rickert:

In a letter dated July 18, 1995, to the Customs office in Chicago on behalf of LTD Commodities Incorporated, you inquired as to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a multi purpose unit housing an AM/FM radio, florescent lamp, spotlight, amber flasher, siren and DC jack. Your letter and sample were referred to this office for reply.


The sample submitted is a portable battery operated combination AM/FM radio/siren/ lighting device in a long tubular plastic housing, described by the importer as item number MLN-Multi-Purpose Lantern. It measures approximately 1' 5" in length and has an attached textile wrist strap. The combination article contains an AM/FM radio, a fluorescent lamp, spotlight, amber flasher, DC jack, and siren. The sample is powered by two "C" batteries (not included).


What is the proper classification of the MLN Multi-Purpose Lantern under the HTSUS?


The classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is governed by 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.
The headings under consideration are:

8513 Portable electric lamps designed to function by their own source of energy (for example, dry batteries, storage batteries, magnetos), other than lighting equipment of heading 8512; parts thereof

8527 Reception apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy or radio broadcasting, whether or not combined, in the same housing, with sound recording or reproducing apparatus or a clock

8531 Electric sound or visual signaling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator panels, burglar or fire alarms), other than those of heading 8512 or 8530; parts thereof

Inasmuch as the subject article is described by all of these headings, it cannot be classified according to GRI 1. When goods cannot be classified by applying GRI 1, and if the headings, subheadings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs are applied.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, 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, 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 IX, pg. 4, states in pertinent part that:

(IX) ...composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean...those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components,...

The MLN Multi-Purpose Lantern qualifies as a composite good because the components, an AM/FM radio, a fluorescent lamp, spot light, amber flasher, DC jack, and siren, together form an inseparable whole. The classification of composite goods is governed by GRI 3(b).

GRI 3(b) states, in pertinent part, that:

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.

EN VIII to GRI 3(b), pg. 4, states that:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

After examining the merchandise, we are of the opinion that the siren is a secondary function of the article and does not merit equal consideration with the article's other functions. Moreover, we believe that the radio's function of providing music/news is no more or less important than the lighting features functions of providing light. Neither does the bulk, quantity, weight or value of any of the radio and lighting components provide the essential character for the article.

In HQ 087161 (August 2, 1990), we classified an AM/FM radio attached to a baseball-style cap according to GRI 3(c). In that ruling we held that both the radio and the cap play an equal role in relation to the use of the merchandise. We followed HQ 087161 and applied GRI 3(c) to a combination radio-flashlight in HQ 952494 (October 8, 1992) and 952797 (January 25, 1995). In both, we held that the flashlight and radio play an equal role in relation to the use of the merchandise. The MLN Multi-Purpose Lantern is virtually identical to the articles in the foregoing rulings. Because none of the subject article's components constitute its essential character, GRI 3(c) must be applied.

GRI 3(c) states that 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 heading which appears last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration, is heading 8527, HTSUS. Therefore, the article is classifiable under heading 8527, HTSUS, specifically, subheading 8527.19.50, HTSUS, which provides for reception apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy or radio broadcasting, whether or not combined, in the same housing, with sound recording or reproducing apparatus or a clock: other: other.


The MLN Multi-Purpose Lantern is classifiable under subheading 8527.19.50, HTSUS. The column 1, general rate of duty is 5.4% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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