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HQ 967877

October 28, 2005



TARIFF NO.: 3923.50.00

Ms. Rose Beltran
Policies and Procedures Manager
Import Administration
Alliance Customs Clearance, Inc.
100 Oceangate, Suite P-200
Long Beach, California 90802

RE: Tariff Classification of an Automatic Candle Extinguisher Made of Plastic; Request for Reconsideration of NY L84158

Dear Ms. Beltran:

This is in response to your letter dated June 13, 2005, submitted on behalf of the Candlewatch Company (Candlewatch), concerning the tariff classification of a product known as an “automatic candle extinguishable” under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Specifically, you request reconsideration of NY L84158 dated May 13, 2005. The National Commodity Specialist Division of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) forwarded your letter and a sample of the automatic candle extinguisher in its packaging for our consideration.


The merchandise that was the subject of NY L84158 was referred to as an automatic candle extinguisher. The ruling described the product as a decorative lid for a jar candle. It is intended to replace the glass stopper that is typically included with jar candles. The candle extinguisher is hinged and is made of a plastic resin that was identified as polyurethane. The resin is coated with a hard enamel finish that gives the appearance of either brass or silver. The bottom portion of the extinguisher forms a decorative rim around the glass jar. The top portion includes a decorative knob by which the extinguisher may be opened. A timing mechanism is built into the back of the extinguisher. The timer allows the extinguisher to remain open for the length of time that is set on the device. After the time interval set on the timer expires, the extinguisher lid will automatically close. When the extinguisher is closed, no oxygen can get to the lit candle, which extinguishes the flame. The timing device operates mechanically and does not make or break an electric circuit. It can be set at intervals of one-half hour to three hours. Depressing a button on the side of the extinguisher may also close the lid.

You state that this extinguisher is packaged and sold with a jar candle with the intended use and primary function of an extinguisher not a lid. However, the sample received only contained the extinguisher without a candle. There is no indication that the automatic candle extinguisher and a jar candle are sold together as a unit. On the sample box, the product is referred to as an “Automatic Candle Extinguisher” with no mention of a candle being included. The box does indicate that the “CANDLEWATCH FITS MANY OF AMERICA’S FINEST CANDLES”. In addition, there are pictures of the device with instructions on how it operates.

In NY L84158, CBP classified the automatic candle extinguisher in subheading 3923.50.00, HTSUS, which provides for: “Stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastic.” Based on HQ 957401, dated April 19, 1995, you contend that the candle extinguishers are most appropriately classified in subheading 9405.91.60 as parts of lamps. It is your position that articles of heading 9405 can be composed of any source of light including candles and that the product’s primary function is as an extinguisher and not as a lid.


Are the automatic candle extinguishers classified in heading 3923 as lids, stoppers, caps and other closures, of plastics, or in heading 9405, as parts of lamps and lighting fittings?


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’s). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

3923 Articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics:

3923.50.00 Stoppers, lids, caps and other closures.

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:


9405.91 Of glass:

9405.91.60 Other.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise. CBP believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

In classifying the candle extinguishers in the proper heading of the HTSUS, we must analyze whether they are intended for function with a candle in heading 3406, HTSUS, or a lamp of heading 9405, HTSUS. For guidance, we have consulted the ENs. EN 94.05, states, in pertinent part, that:

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:

(1) Lamps and lighting fittings normally used for the illumination of rooms, e.g.: hanging lamps; bowl lamps; ceiling lamps; chandeliers; wall lamps; standard lamps; table lamps; bedside lamps; desk lamps; night lamps; water-tight lamps.

EN 34.06 provides that "[c]andles, tapers (including ball or coiled tapers), etc., are usually made of tallow, stearin, paraffin wax or other waxes [and] [t]he heading covers these goods whether or not coloured, perfumed, decorated, etc."

In HQ 956577, dated April 17, 1995, we considered the classification of a glass jar [with a bail and trigger closure] that contain[ed] a candle wick and candle wax in which the candle wax was poured in the jar as a liquid and solidified to take the shape of the jar. After acknowledging that the article was prima facie classifiable under separate headings (headings 3406 (which provides for candles) and 7010 (which provides for various containers of glass), HTSUS) and analyzing the essential character of the article pursuant to GRI 3(b), we concluded that the candle imparted the essential character of the article. In reaching that conclusion, we noted that several prior rulings (New York Rulings Letters (NY) 888752, dated August 18, 1993, NY 885353, dated May 18, 1993, and NY 889763, dated September 17, 1993) arrived at similar conclusions.

In HQ 965054 dated March 19, 2002, CBP considered the classification of a candle set consisting of a wax-filled, frosted, white glass candle holder with a base metal lid and two wax-filled, frosted, burgundy glass candle holders packaged and distributed together as a set. We classified the item as a candle in subheading 3406.00.00, HTSUS, rather than as non-electrical lamp in subheading 9405.50.40, HTSUS, because the items consisted of candles in the shape of inexpensive glass articles.

Thus, essentially CBP has adopted the position that in classifying wax filled glass jars, where the glass is simple and inexpensive, the wax imparts the essential character of the product. Accordingly, such articles are classified as candles in heading 3406, HTSUS, rather than as lamps or lighting fixtures in heading 9405, HTSUS. In the present case, the extinguisher will be attached to jars of simple glass filled with wax, and as such we conclude that the extinguishers are used with candles of heading 3406, HTSUS, rather than with lamps or lighting fixtures of heading 9405, HTSUS.

This conclusion is further supported by the product’s box and information from Candlewatch’s website which indicate that the product is used with candles. There is no mention of lamps or lighting fixtures. An indication that the product is for use with candles is that the box specifies that “Candlewatch fits many of America’s Finest Candles”. It also lists several candle producers and the styles and sizes of various candles that the candlewatch extinguisher will work with. We believe that this demonstrates that it is understood by its manufacturer that the candle extinguisher is intended for use with candles.

The ruling that you cite HQ 957401, concerned candle wax rings made of glass which were used to collect hot dripping wax from a lit candle. CBP classified the candle wax rings in subheading 9405.91.60, HTSUS, as parts of non-electric lighting fittings. However, the product under consideration in HQ 957401 is distinguishable from the product under review in this instance. The candle wax rings were used as a part of a product that did not contain any wax. In order to get illumination, a candle had to be added later. Since the product that the candle wax rings were used with when sold did not contain any wax, it could not be considered a candle. Consequently, the candle wax rings were determined to be a part of a non-electric lighting fitting. In contrast, the candle extinguishers in the present case are attached to jars filled with wax that CBP considers to be candles.

Since the wax filled jars are classified as candles, not as lamps or lighting fittings in heading 9405, HTSUS, we conclude that articles used as parts or accessories with the wax filled jars, such as the candle extinguishers, cannot be classified as parts of lamps and lighting fittings of heading 9405, HTSUS.

We note however that the heading for candles, heading 3406, HTSUS, does not include parts or accessories, thus the candle extinguishers cannot be classified in heading 3406, HTSUS. Consequently, in classifying the candle extinguishers, we must look at the alternative proposed heading of 3923, HTSUS, which is for stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics. Neither the HTSUS nor the EN’s provide any explanation or definition for the term “lids”. In cases where tariff terms are undefined, they are to be construed in accordance with their common and commercial meanings which are presumed to be the same (Nippon Kogaku, Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 92, 673 F.2d 380 (1982); see also Nylos Trading Company v. United States, 37 CCPA 71, 73, C.A.D. 423 (1949), and Winter-Wolff, Inc., v. United States, CIT Slip Op. 98-15 (Customs Bulletin and Decisions, March 25, 1998, vol. 32, no. 12, 71, at 74, "When, however, a tariff term is not clearly defined by the statute or its legislative history, it is also fundamental that the correct meaning of the tariff term is presumed to be the same as its common or dictionary meaning in the absence of evidence to the contrary").

The web site www.Dictionary.com defines the word “lid” as: “A removable or hinged cover for a hollow receptacle or box”. The Merriam-Webster OnLine Dictionary similarly provides the following definition for the word “lid”: “a movable cover for the opening of a hollow container (as vessel or box).” The subject article, the “automatic candle extinguisher,” clearly fits within these definitions of the word lid. It is a cover that is hinged and removable for a container, which in this instance, is a jar filled with candle wax. The fact that it will be used to extinguish the flame of a candle does not negate the fact that it is still basically a cover that sits on top of a jar candle. Neither the HTSUS nor the ENs indicates that there cannot be different types of lids and that lids cannot have different types of functions. Here, the chief function of the product may be to extinguish a jar candle’s flame, but nevertheless, we believe that it is still described most appropriately as a lid or other closure because it serves as a cover for the jar candle. With respect to the incorporated timer, we believe that it is merely an enhanced feature that does not change the basic nature of the product. Accordingly, we conclude that the automatic candle extinguishers can be described as a lid or other closure of plastic that is classified in heading 3923, HTSUS.


The automatic candle extinguisher for a jar candle is classified in heading 3923. It is specifically provided for in subheading 3923.50.0000, HTSUS, which provides for “Articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics; stoppers, lids, caps and other closures, of plastics: Stoppers, lids, caps and other closures,” at the column one general rate of duty of 5.3 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 World Wide Web at http://www. usitc.gov/tata/hts/.


NY L84158 dated May 13, 2005 is affirmed.


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