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HQ 966401

June 29, 2004

CLA-2 :RR:CR:GC 966401 MG

Catergory: Classification

Tariff No: 8513.10.20

Port Director
Customs Border Protection
24735 E. 75th Ave.
Suite 100
Denver, CO 80249

RE: Protest number 3307-03-100010; Light-emitting diode (“LED”) flashlights.

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest No. 3307-03-100010, filed against your classification of the Epoch Portable Mini LED light (“Epoch light”) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), imported by Golight, Inc. The entry was liquidated on February 10, 2003, and the protest timely filed on March 27, 2003. No samples were submitted for our examination.


According to the product’s literature, the Epoch light is a 5” long “ultimate LED floodlight” that turns on/off with a twisting mechanism. Each light is imported in a package with 2 lithium batteries and a clip-on webbing lanyard. The Epoch light was entered under the tariff provision for flashlights in subheading 8513.10.20, HTSUS. Protestant claims that the Epoch light is properly classified in subheading 8541.40.20, HTSUS, as an LED.


Is the Epoch light classified as a light-emitting diode or as a portable electric lamp under the HTSUS?


At the outset, it is noted that the protest was timely filed (i.e., within 90 days after but not before the notice of liquidation; (see 19 U.S.C.§1514(c)(3)(A)) and the matters protested before the matters protested are protestable (see 19 U.S.C. §1514(a)(2) and (5)).

Merchandise imported into the U.S. is classified under the HTSUS. Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order. GRI 6 requires that the classification of goods in the subheadings of headings shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings, any related subheading notes and mutatis mutandis, to the GRIs 1 through 5.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN’s) represent the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level and facilitate classification under the HTSUS by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs. The ENs, although not dispositive nor 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. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8541 Diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light-emitting diodes; mounted piezoelectric crystals; parts thereof:

Photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light-emitting diodes:

8541.40.20 Light-emitting diodes (LED's).

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:


8513.10.20 Flashlights

The protestant maintains that the Epoch light is classified in heading 8541, HTSUS, which provides for “Light-emiting diodes (“LEDs”)” by themselves. In further support of its claim, Protestant makes reference to Chapter 85, Note 5, which states:

“For the classification of the articles defined in this note, heading 8541 and 8542 shall take precedence over any other heading in the tariff schedule which might cover them by reference to, in particular, their function.”

In this regard, EN 85.41 (C) states that: “Light-emitting diodes, or electroluminescent diodes, are devices which convert electric energy into visible, infra-red or ultra-violet rays. They are used, e.g., for displaying or transmitting data in control systems.”

EN 85.41 only refers to a “Light-emitting diode or electroluminescent diode” alone or by itself. There is no mention of the diode with any other components or within any housing or any device such as the Epoch light. Because the Epoch light is a complete battery-operated floodlight, which contains an LED, it is beyond the scope of heading 8541, HTSUS and classification under this heading is, therefore, precluded. In NY K85367, May 17, 2004, Customs and Border Protection, (“CBP”) decided that an LED device incorporated into a lamp housing to create a lamp (other than a mere LED device) is advanced beyond the scope of heading 8541, HTSUS.

As noted above, Note 5 to Chapter 85 specifically gives priority to merchandise which is classifiable within either heading 8541 or 8542, i.e., an LED or an integrated circuit or monoassembly. Inasmuch as the Epoch light is not classifiable under heading 8541 (as it is a portable battery-operated floodlight which contains an LED and not just an LED or an integrated circuit or microassembly), Chapter 85, Note 5 should, therefore, not be given any consideration for purposes of this Protest.

Because the Epoch light is a portable battery-operated electric floodlight lamp designed to function by its own source of energy, it falls squarely within the purview of heading 8513, HTSUS. The issue then arises at the 8-digit level. Flashlights have been defined as small, battery operated, portable electric lights normally held in the hand by the housing. Sanyo Electric Inc. v. United States, 496 F.Supp. 1311, aff’d., 642 F.2d 435 (1981). The primary function of a flashlight is to project a beam of light. Subheading 8513.10.20, HTSUS, covers flashlights. Subheading 8513.10.40, HTSUS, covers all other portable electric lamps designed to function by their own source of energy. Since the device in question projects a beam of light, is battery-operated and is held in the hand by its housing, it is a flashlight and can not simultaneously be considered something "other than a flashlight." See HQ 966409 (May 11, 2004), citing HQ 964495 (February 12, 2001).


The Epoch light is classified in subheading 8513.10.2000, HTSUSA, which provides for: "[P]ortable 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: lamps: flashlight."

The Protest is hereby DENIED.

Articles classified under this tariff provision are dutiable at the rate of 12.5 percent ad valorem. Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the Internet at www.usitc.gov.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries 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 make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.CBP.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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