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HQ 966041

April 29, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966041


TARIFF NO.: 9405.40.60

Mr. Karl F. Krueger
Danzas AEI Customs Brokerage Services
29200 Northwestern Highway
Soputhfield, MI 48034

RE: Sewing Machine Light from Taiwan

Dear Mr. Krueger:

This is in reference to New York Ruling Letter (NY) G88460, issued to you on April 12, 2001, by the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a sewing machine light from Taiwan. We have had an opportunity to review this ruling and believe it is incorrect.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1) Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)) as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, (Pub. L. 103-82, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186), notice of the proposed revocation of NY G88460 was published on February 5, 2003, in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN, Volume 37, Number 6. One comment was received in response to this notice.


NY G88460 classified the merchandise in subheading 8452.90.00, HTSUS, the provision for "[s]ewing machines, other than book-sewing machines of heading 8440; furniture, bases and covers specially designed for sewing machines; sewing machine needles; parts thereof: [o]ther sewing machines: [o]ther parts of sewing machines."

The facts as stated in NY G88460 are as follows:

The CFL (Coldcathode Fluorescent Light) sewing machine light is used to illuminate the entire stitching area so as to reveal the details of the work. As evidenced by the sample provided, this sewing machine part consists of the following components:
a u-shaped metal housing, a very thin white fluorescent light bulb running the length of the U-shaped housing, wiring connected to a printed circuit board and mounting hardware.

An advertisement on the Bernina® of America, Inc. web site describes the “Cool Fluorescent Light” as follows: “Bernina offers the brightest built-in light of any sewing machine. Our Cool Fluorescent Light surrounds the entire stitching area to reveal every detail of your work. For embroidery on the Artista, it brings your stitchery to life as it sews out. (Note: This accessory requires installation by your authorized Bernina Dealer.)”


Is a sewing machine light classified as a part of a sewing machine or as a lamp?


Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the HTSUS. Tariff classification is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context that requires otherwise, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation (AUSRI). The GRIs and the AUSRI are part of the HTSUS and are to be considered statutory provisions of law.

GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any related section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order.

In interpreting 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 HTSUSA. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (August 23, 1989).

The following HTSUS headings are under consideration:

8452: Sewing machines, other than book-sewing machines of heading 8440; furniture, bases and covers specially designed for sewing machines; sewing machine needles; parts thereof:

9405 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:

AUSRI 1(c) states that “[i]n the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires . . . a provision for parts of an article covers products solely or principally used as a part of such articles but a provision for ‘parts’ or ‘parts and accessories’ shall not prevail over a specific provision for such part or accessory.”

Section XVI, Note 2 states, in pertinent part, the following:

Subject to note 1 to this section, note 1 to chapter 84 and to note 1 to chapter 85, parts of machines (not being parts of the articles of heading 8484, 8544, 8545, 8546 or 8547) are to be classified according to the following rules:

(a) Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapter 84 or 85 (other than headings 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8485, 8503, 8522, 8529, 8538 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;

(b) Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading (including a machine of heading 8479 or 8543) are to be classified with the machines of that kind or in heading 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8503, 8522, 8529 or 8538 as appropriate. However, parts which are equally suitable for use principally with the goods of headings 8517 and 8525 to 8528 are to be classified in heading 8517;

EN 94.05 states, in pertinent part, the following:


Lamps and lighting fittings of this group can be constituted of any material (excluding those materials described in Note 1 to Chapter 71) and use any source of light (candles, oil, petrol, paraffin (or kerosene), gas, acetylene, electricity, etc.). Electrical lamps and lighting fittings of this heading may be equipped with lamp-holders, switches, flex and plugs, transformers, etc., or, as in the case of fluorescent strip fixtures, a starter or a ballast.

This heading covers in particular: . . . .

(3) Specialised lamps, e.g.: darkroom lamps; machine lamps (presented separately); photographic studio lamps; inspection lamps (other than those of heading 85.12); non-flashing beacons for aerodromes; shop window lamps; electric garlands (including those fitted with fancy lamps for carnival or entertainment purposes or for decorating Christmas trees). (emphasis added).

First, citing Bauerhin Technologies Limited v. United States, 914 F.Supp. 554, (Ct. Intl Trade, 1995), the commenter argues that the sewing machine light is indisputably a part of a sewing machine because it is "dedicated for use" with the sewing machine." We do not find the Bauerhin test to be so simply applied. The Bauerhin court actually acknowledges that there are two distinct lines of cases defining the word "part" in the tariff. Starting with U.S. v. Willoughby Camera Stores, Inc.21 C.C.P.A. 322 (Cust. & Pat. App., 1933) and restated in E.M Chemicals v. U.S., 920 F.2d 910 (1990), this line of cases holds that a part of an article "is something necessary to the completion of that article without which the article to which it is to be joined, could not function as such article." Another line of cases evolved from United States v. Antonio Pompeo, 43 C.C.P.A. 9, C.A.D. 602 ((Cust. & Pat. App., 1955), which held that a device may be a part of an article even though its use is optional and the article will function without it, if the device is dedicated for use upon the article, and, once installed, the article will not operate without it.

Here, the sewing machine light illuminates the sewing area in the same manner as any overhead or desk lamp. Although dedicated for use with a sewing machine, the sewing machine will function even if the lamp is subsequently removed. Furthermore, the instant merchandise is advertised as an “accessory” and is not necessary to the functioning of the sewing machine but serves the subordinate purpose of illuminating the stitching area. Merchandise used in conjunction with an item in a subordinate role to the function of that item has been described as an accessory, and not as a part, by the Court of International Trade. See, Rollerblade, Inc. v. United States, 116 F. Supp. 2d 1247, 1252 (Ct. Int’l Trade, 2000). Hence, under either analysis, we find that the instant merchandise is not a "part" of a sewing machine. However, for the remainder of this ruling, we will assume, arguendo, that the sewing machine light is a "part" of a sewing machine.

In New York Ruling Letter (NY) H87473, dated February 6, 2002, an electric lamp designed to be fitted into a dedicated aperture of various popular sewing machines which power the merchandise was classified in heading 9405, HTSUS, as a lamp. This case is similar. The instant merchandise is a specialized lamp designed to be used with a sewing machine in order to illuminate the stitching area. It is therefore prima facie classifiable under GRI 1 in heading 9405, HTSUS, as lamps and lighting fittings, not elsewhere specified or included.

The term "not elsewhere specified or included" does not render this residual provision for lamps a "basket" or non-specific provision. In Sharp Microelectronics Technology, Inc. v. United States, 122 F.3d 1446 (Fed. Cir. 1997), the court found that heading 9013, HTSUS, the provision for "liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings; . . . other optical appliances and instruments, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; . . . ," was not a "basket" provision. The court explained that the provision "is simply another specific provision acknowledging that it may be more or less difficult to satisfy than some other provision, or a more or less accurate or certain provision than some other to describe a particular article." Id. at 1450. So too with heading 9405, HTSUS. The heading specifically describes lamps and lighting fittings, but acknowledges that other headings for lamps and lighting fittings may provide a more specifically described home for the merchandise at issue. Hence, heading 9405 is a specific provision for those lamps and lighting fittings not elsewhere specified or included.

However, NY G88460 finds an alternative classification for the instant merchandise as a “part” of a sewing machine. In HQ 561353, dated September 19, 2002, we discussed the classification of a copper wire in heading 7408 that was dedicated to use in an Electrical Discharge Machine (EDM). We stated that "Section XVI note 2, HTSUS, appears to direct the classification of parts of machines of Chapters 84 and 85. However, in this case we also have unrestricted language as to the classification of a named product, copper wire. We believe that, in such cases, Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c) provides us with the necessary guidance." Just as the copper wire in HQ 561353 was provided for as a good of a heading outside of Section XVI, so too is the sewing machine lamp provided for outside of Section XVI.

Citing Mitsubishi International Corporation v. United States, 182 F.3d 884, 886 (Fed. Cir. 1999), commenter correctly argues that Section XVI, Note 2(a) is regarded by the courts as "context which otherwise requires" with regard to the application of A.U.S.R.I. 1(c). Also see, Nidec Corporation v. United States, 861 F. Supp. 136 (Ct. Int’l Trade, 1994). However, Section XVI, Note 2(a) does not resolve the classification situation at hand. Specifically, the instant sewing machine lamps are not "[p]arts which are goods included in any of the headings of Chapter 84 or 85 . . .," as addressed by note 2(a). Lamps are not classifiable in Chapters 84 or 85. Lamps are classifiable outside of Section XVI, in Chapter 94.

In this manner, AUSRI 1(c), which applies to the entire HTSUS, not just a particular section, remains the guiding rule of interpretation when a part can also be classified in a specific provision not in chapters 84 or 85. Heading 9405, HTSUS, specifically describes the instant merchandise as a lamp that is not specified or included as such in any other provision.


The CFL is classified in subheading 9405.40.60, HTSUS, the provision for other electric lamps and lighting fittings.


NY G88460 is revoked.


Myles B. Harmon, Director

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