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HQ 959270

January 24, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959270 JRS


TARIFF NO.: 9405.20.80

Port Director of Customs
200 E. Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401

RE: Protest Review Decision No. 1601-96-100125; electric table lamp; glass and ceramic components; GRI 3(b), essential character; EN Rule 3(b); GRI 6; NY

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding the Application for Further Review of the above-referenced protest, which concerns the classification of an electric household table lamp from Taiwan under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The merchandise in issue was entered on November 11, 1995, and liquidated on March 8, 1996. The protest was timely filed on May 7, 1996.


The subject of this protest, an electric table touch control lamp, model number 202LP, is approximately 15« inches in overall height. This table lamp possesses the following features:

? the lamp "shade" portion contains six decorated curved glass panels with decals (peach blossoms) matching those situated on the center pole of the lamp; ? a composite tapering lamp base, with the upper portion made of porcelain (2 inches in height) on top of a brass-plated finished steel base (1« inches in height);
? a ceramic ball (2« inches in height) with the co-ordinating design is located above the porcelain section of the base at the pole's midpoint; ? touch control sensor for a three-way switch 60 watt bulb; and
? a 5-ft. power cord with a polarized plug.

A copy of a catalog containing a photograph of the lamp, descriptive literature, and a packing list with a complete component material breakdown by weight and value were submitted with the protest.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

9405.20 Electric table, desk, bedside or floor- standing lamps:
Of base metal:
Of brass

9405.20.60 Other....7.3 percent ad valorem

9405.20.80 Other...........................3.9 percent ad valorem


Whether the electric household table lamp is properly classified as electric table lamps of base metal other than brass under subheading 9405.20.60, HTSUS, or as electric table lamps of material other than base metal under subheading 9405.20.80, 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...." GRI 6 states, in relevant part that, for legal purposes, the classification of goods in the subheading of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes and, by appropriate substitution of terms, to GRIs 1 through 5, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. The table lamps are provided for under heading 9405, HTSUS.

GRI 6 is the legal authority for classifying goods in the subheadings of a heading by applying GRIs 1 through 5, with appropriate substitution of terms. Applying GRI 1 at the subheading level through GRI 6, the article is within the provision for subheading 9405.20, HTSUS, which provides for electric table lamps.

A determination of the appropriate eight digit subheading requires an examination of the material which imparts the essential character to the table lamp. In this case, classification is determined by application of GRI 3(b), which provides in pertinent part:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components...shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character....

The issue in this case is whether the essential character of the table lamps is imparted by the metal or the glass components. In general, essential character has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is; that which is indispensable to the structure, core or condition of the article. In addition, Explanatory Note (EN) Rule 3(b) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HCDCS) provides further factors which help determine the essential character of goods. The ENs, although neither dispositive nor legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of the GRIs of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the GRIs. See T.D. 89-80, 54 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). Factors such as bulk, quantity, weight or value, or the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods are to be utilized, though the importance of certain factors will vary between different kinds of goods. EN Rule 3(b).

The breakdown by each component's weight and value for the instant lamp as set forth on the packing list is as follows: the ceramic component accounts for 14% wt. (0.48 kgs) and $0.91; the metal component, 22% wt. (0.76 kgs) and $1.92; the glass, 23% wt. (0.78 kgs) and $2.38; the hardware, 10% wt. ( 0.34 kgs) and $0.73; and the electronic parts, 12% wt. (0.41 kgs) and $2.18.

The protestant contends that the glass predominates on this lamp by weight and value and that the glass components are more visible than the metal parts, and are structurally and decoratively more important than the metal parts which are minimal. Protestant argues that the glass itself imparts the essential character to the electric table touch lamp and thus the proper classification for this lamp is under subheading 9405.20.80, HTSUS.

Your office liquidated the article under subheading 9405.20.60, HTSUS, on the basis that ruling, NY 816612, dated January 2, 1996, to the protestant on the instant merchandise was not retroactive. It is your position that the lamp shade is detachable so other shades could be used with the lamp and that the porcelain base is on top of a brass plated base.

We have examined the catalog photograph of the lamp and the breakdown of each component used in the lamp. We find that the glass and ceramic components are more visible than the metal components used for the lamp socket as well as the underlying structure of the lamp, which are not visible due to the porcelain fittings on the center pole and base. The peach blossom decal design on each of the six curved glass panels of the lamp shade is the same design found on the porcelain ball of the lamp's center pole. The overall appearance of the 15«-inch lamp is imparted more by the glass and ceramic components than by the small amount of visible metal trim (1«") at the lamp's base and the decorative metal hardware at the top of the glass shade which secures it to the pole. An appropriate description of this lamp is a glass and ceramic lamp with metal trim. Based on the submitted breakdown, the metal components do not predominate by bulk, quantity, weight or value, as do the glass and ceramic components, which account for 37% by weight and $3.29 by value. It is our opinion that the metal does not give this lamp its essential character as do the other components, namely, the glass and ceramic.

It would be speculative at best to assume that the detachable lamp shade would be removed since the decorative shade itself is indispensable to the overall appearance of this decorative motif glass and ceramic lamp. Such a use of the lamp shade by the importer would be fugitive at best. The glass shade goes well beyond performing a shade's normal function of reducing glare and deflecting light. It is our view that the curved glass paneled shade sets the style of the lamp and distinguishes it from other lamps.

We find that NY 816612, dated January 2, 1996, although issued after the date of entry of this article, is in accord with our finding that the essential character of this lamp, model 202LP, is imparted by the glass and ceramic components.


Under the authority of GRI 3(b), applied at the subheading level by GRI 6, the household table touch lamp, model 202LP, is provided for in heading 9405. It is classifiable in subheading 9405.20.80, HTSUS, as electric table lamps of other than base metal. The general column one rate of duty is 3.9 percent ad valorem.

The protest should be ALLOWED in full. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, 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 of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make this decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

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