RR:CR:GC 964268 AML
U.S. Customs Service
511 NW Broadway
Portland, OR 97209
RE: Protest # 2904-00-100048; Lamp assemblies for LCD projectors
Dear Port Director:
The following is our decision regarding protest # 2904-00-100048, concerning your classification of lamp assemblies for LCD projectors pursuant to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Descriptive literature and diagrams were provided for our examination. In preparing this decision, consideration was given to the supplemental submission made by counsel for the protestant dated August 3, 2001.
The articles at issue are lamp assembly units, item #s P/N 232-0100-0, P/N 232-0145-01, P/N 232-0137-00 and P/N 232-0146-01, which are designed to provide a light source for multi-media projectors. Each lamp assembly is stated to have a metal halide lamp cemented inside a glass housing. Attached to the glass surrounding of item # P/N 232-0100-0 is a ceramic housing and a wiring harness unit. Attached to the glass surrounding of item #s P/N 232-0145-01 and P/N 232-0146-01 is a plastic housing and wire harness unit designed to hold the lamp and place it into a data/video projector. Attached to the glass surrounding of item # P/N 232-0137-00 is a large plastic housing (this lamp unit does not contain a wire harness).
Counsel for the protestant provides the following description and technical information:
The lamp assembly is a part of computer data and video projectors made by InFocus Systems, Inc. (“InFocus”). Utilizing a proprietary
optical system, these projectors display computer-generated images (when so used, a projector and associated screen basically substitute for a computer video monitor) and (when connected to video apparatus) video-generated images on a screen.
The lamp assembly consists of four fundamental components: an electrode arc tube; a reflector with glass cover; plastic housing; and electrical connections (two wires and a plastic connector). The materials used to manufacture the lamp assembly include tungsten and molybdenum (electrodes and heat fins), mercury and proprietary fill gases (typically argon, bromine and krypton), quartz glass (electrode arc tube), and coated optical grade glass (cover glass and reflector). The housing consists of composite plastic, which is molded specifically for each type of lamp assembly and projector. Also, the lamp reflector is designed specifically for each projection optical system in order to accommodate the specific design specifications (e.g., height, power dissipation, mechanical alignment and brightness) of a particular projector.
The articles were entered between March and July, 1999, and the entries were liquidated between January 21 and April 14, 2000. The protest was filed on April 17, 2000.
Are the above-described lamp assemblies for LCD projectors provided for under heading 8529, HTSUS, which provides for parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528, under heading 8539, HTSUS, which provides for metal halide lamps, or under heading 9405, HTSUS, which provides for lamps not of base metal?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Initially we note 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 are protestable (see 1514 U.S.C. 1514 (a)(2) and (5)).
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”). 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:
8529 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of
headings 8525 to 8528:
* * *
8539 Electrical filament or discharge lamps, including sealed beam lamp
units and ultraviolet or infrared lamps; arc lamps; parts thereof:
Discharge lamps, other than ultraviolet lamps:
8539.32.00 Mercury or sodium vapor lamps; metal halide lamps.
* * *
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:
9405.40 Other electric lamps and lighting fittings:
Of base metal:
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See, T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
We first consider whether the lamp assemblies are classifiable as lamps under either heading 8539 or 9405, HTSUS, because classification in either of those headings would preclude classification under heading 8529, HTSUS.
According to the ENs, Heading 8539, HTSUS, provides for all electric light lamps, whether or not specially designed for particular uses (including flashlight discharge lamps). Were the metal halide lamps that comprise a component of the assemblies imported singularly, i.e., not combined with the other components that comprise the assembly, they would be classified under heading 8539, HTSUS, which contains an eo nomine provision for such articles. However, the lamps, in their condition as imported, are components in assemblies and thus cannot be classified under heading 8539, HTSUS. See GRIs 2 and 3.
The Notes to Chapter 94 provide in relevant part that the chapter does not cover “lamps or lighting fittings of Chapter 85.” The General Notes to the Chapter provide in pertinent part that subject to the exclusionary provisions in the ENs, the chapter covers “lamps and lighting fittings and parts thereof, not elsewhere specified or included, of any material . . . having a permanently fixed light source, and parts thereof not elsewhere specified or included (heading 94.05) [emphasis added].” Heading 9405, HTSUS, is a so-called "basket" provision within Chapter 94, in which classification "is appropriate only when there is no tariff category that covers the merchandise more specifically." (Apex Universal, Inc., v. United States, CIT Slip Op. 98-69 (May 21, 1988).) Because the lamps are components of an assembly and because they are elsewhere specified and included, they cannot be classified under heading 9405, HTSUS.
With respect to the potential applicability of heading 8529, heading 8528 covers:
Reception apparatus for television, whether or not incorporating radiobroadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus; video monitors and video projectors[.]
Customs recently addressed the classification of lamp assemblies for LCD data/video projectors similar to those in question. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 963720, dated December 19, 2000, we determined that those lamp assemblies were provided for under heading 8529, HTSUS, and classified them under subheading 8529.90.99, HTSUS, which provides for: “parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528: other: other: other.”
In so holding we noted that:
Our determination is consistent with a recent decision on similar merchandise published in the World Customs Organization (“WCO”) Compendium of Classification Opinions on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System where the classification of a projector which received signals from an automatic data processing machine and a video source and whose principal function could not be determined was based upon GRI 3(c). See Opinion No. 8528.30/1 of the WCO Compendium of Classification Opinions, Amending Supplement No. 24 (August 1999). As stated in T.D. 89-80, decisions in the Compendium of Classification Opinions should be treated in the same manner as the ENs, i.e., while neither legally binding nor dispositive, they provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. T.D. 89-80 further states that ENs and decisions in the Compendium of Classification Opinions “should receive considerable weight.”
This determination is consistent with our conclusions in HQ 964043 dated July 25, 2000, and HQ 964159 dated July 25, 2000. In those rulings we classified LCD projectors in heading 8528, HTSUS, based upon GRI 3(c) where there was no satisfactory documentary evidence with respect to the principal function of the projectors. See also HQ 960282 dated October 22, 1998, and HQ 960354 dated October 22, 1998, where we classified monitors in heading 8528 based upon GRI 3(c).
Based on the foregoing, we determine that the lamp assemblies are provided for under heading 8529, HTSUS. They are classified under subheading 8529.90.99, HTSUS, which provides for: “Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8538: Other: … Other: … Other.”
This determination is consistent with HQ 964605 dated December 18, 2000, where we held that certain LCD projectors of Digital Projection were classified in subheading 8528.30.66, HTSUS, based upon GRI 3(c). The lamp assemblies at issue here are used in articles similar to the LCD projectors at issue in HQ 964605 (as well as used in other projectors of Digital Projection not specifically at issue in HQ 964605).
The lamp assemblies for LCD projectors are classified under subheading 8529.90.99, HTSUS, which provides for parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528: other: other.
The protest should be GRANTED. 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 (60) 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.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division