CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964397 AML
Ms. Lisa C. Schneider
Associated Customhouse Brokers, Inc.
Water Tower Park
1099 Jay Street Bldg. C-5
P.O. Box 22670
Rochester, NY 14692-2670
RE: Glass envelopes for halogen bulbs; NY B88262 revoked.
Dear Ms. Schneider:
This is in reference to New York Ruling Letter (NY) B88262, dated July 31, 1997, issued to you on behalf of Bausch & Lomb, Inc., which concerned the classification of glass envelopes under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). We have reconsidered NY B88262 and now believe that the classification set forth is incorrect. Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625 (c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057), a notice was published on September 27, 2000, in Vol. 34, No. 39 of the Customs Bulletin, proposing to revoke NY B88262 and to revoke the treatment pertaining to the coated and uncoated empty glass envelopes (bulbs) for halogen lamps. No comments were received in response to this notice.
The articles were described in NY B88262 as coated and uncoated glass envelopes for halogen bulbs and were classified under subheading 7011.10.50, HTSUS, which provides for glass envelopes (including bulbs and tubes), open, and glass parts thereof, without fittings, for electric lamps, cathode-ray tubes or the like: for electric lighting: bulbs for incandescent lamps: other.
Whether glass envelopes for use in halogen bulbs are classifiable in subheading 7011.10.10 or 7011.10.50, HTSUS?
LAW and ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). 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 headings and subheadings under consideration are as follows:
7011 Glass envelopes (including bulbs and tubes), open, and
glass parts thereof, without fittings, for electric lamps,
cathode-ray tubes or the like:
7011.10 For electric lighting:
7011.10.10 Bulbs for incandescent lamps:
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. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 8980. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).
There is no dispute that the articles are classifiable in heading 7011. We note, for informational purposes, that if the glass envelopes were imported with their fittings in place, i.e., as finished or complete halogen bulbs, they would be classifiable as such in heading 8359, HTSUS. See, for example, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 962258, dated February 11, 1999. The crux of the matter is which subheading best describes the glass envelopes to be used for halogen bulbs. The ENs to heading 7011, HTSUS, provide, in pertinent part, as follows:
This heading covers:
(A) All open glass envelopes (including bulbs and tubes) of any shape or size,
without fittings, for the manufacture of electric lamps, valves and tubes, whether these are for illuminating or other purposes (incandescent or vapour discharge lamps, X-ray tubes, radio valves, cathode-ray tubes, rectifier valves or other electronic tubes or valves, infra-red lamps, etc.). Most of these envelopes are mass-produced by automatic machines; they may be frosted, coloured, opal, metallised, coated with fluorescent material, etc.
Glass parts of envelopes (such as faceplates or cones of cathode-ray tubes for television receivers, spotlight bulb reflectors) remain in this heading.
(B) Tubes with narrowed ends clearly intended for electric lamps, or bent into shape for advertising signs.
(C) Tubes lined with a fluorescent substance (e.g., zinc silicate, cadmium borate, calcium tungstate).
By means of a series of operations (including, insertion of filaments or electrodes, exhaustion of the envelope, introduction of one or more rare gases, of mercury, etc., fitting of caps or connectors), these envelopes are made into electric lamps, cathode-ray tubes or the like of Chapter 85.
All the above-mentioned articles may be of ordinary glass, crystal glass or fused quartz.
The Encyclopedia Britannica (1993), under the heading “lamps” provides the following definitions and explanations of electric lamps and discharge lamps while tracing the developmental history of those articles:
An incandescent lamp (q.v.) is one in which a filament gives off light when heated to incandescence by an electric current.
* * *
The most important subsequent improvement in the incandescent lamp was the development of metallic filaments, particularly of tungsten. Tungsten filaments quickly replaced ones made of carbon, tantalum, and metalized carbon in the early 1900s[.] Tungsten is highly suitable for such lamps because of all the materials suitable for drawing into filament wires, it has the highest melting point. This means that lamps can operate at higher temperatures and therefore emit both whiter light and more light for the same electrical input than was possible with less durable and less refractory carbon filaments.
* * *
The early Tungsten lamps, like carbon lamps, suffered from the migration of filament molecules to the glass bulb, causing a blackening of
the bulb, a loss in light output, and progressive thinning of the filament until it broke. About 1913, it was found that a small amount of inert gas (argon or nitrogen) reduced migration and enabled the filament to be run at a higher temperature, giving a whiter light, higher efficiency, and longer life. Further improvements followed including the development of the coiled filament.
The Encyclopedia Americana (1993) provides similar definitional explanations under the heading “electric lighting” at pp. 127-128; as does the McGraw-Hill Scientific and Technical Encyclopedia under the heading “incandescent lamp,” with the functional differences being noted under the headings “fluorescent lamp,” “metal halide lamp,” “neon glow lamp,” and “vapor lamp.” For further insight see also the Electrical Engineering Handbook, CRC Press, Inc., 1993, pp. 2257-2276.
The McGraw-Hill Scientific and Technical Encyclopedia under the heading “incandescent lamp” elaborates, under the subheading “tungsten-halogen”:
These special lamps are made with a fill gas that includes a small amount of one of the halogen elements such as iodine, bromine, or chlorine. The special changes that result from the halogen addition are: (1) the filament temperature can be increased, giving a whiter light output; (2) the depreciation in light output with time is greatly decreased; and (3) the lumen output and the life are increased. The lamps are made only in the tubular shape by using small-diameter tubing made of fused quartz instead of glass to withstand the 500°F or 260°C bulb wall temperature required for proper functioning of the halogen gas fill. In operation, as the tungsten evaporates from the filament, it combines with the halogen forming a tungsten-halogen gas. This gas circulates within the lamp, but instead of blackening the bulb wall with tungsten deposits, as happens in regular lamps, the tungsten remains as a gas, until coming in contact with the very high-temperature filament it separates into halogen and tungsten with the tungsten being deposited back on the filament. This lamp develops a larger amount of ultraviolet radiation than general-service lamps. This may cause problems when lighting objects sensitive to ultraviolet, so precautions may be required.
Under the subheading “lamp construction,” again under the heading “luminescent lamps,” McGraw-Hill provides:
The important parts of an incandescent lamp are the lamp enclosure or bulb, the filament, and the base. Standard lamps have various bulb shapes, bases, and filament constructions. The bulb may be clear, colored, inside-frosted, or coated with diffusing or reflecting material. Most lamps have soft-glass bulbs; hard glass is used when the lamp will be subjected to sudden and
severe temperature changes. In addition, lamps are available with a variety of bulb shapes, base types, and filament structures. These vary according to the type of service planned, the need for easy replacement, and other environmental and service conditions.
We find that halogen lamps are incandescent lamps and that the glass envelopes without fittings are designed and intended principally and solely for such use.
The empty glass envelopes are classifiable under subheading 7011.10.10, HTSUS, which provides for glass envelopes (including bulbs and tubes), open, and glass parts thereof, without fittings, for electric lamps, cathode-ray tubes or the like: for electric lighting: bulbs for incandescent lamps.
For informational purposes, we note that this ruling is limited to glass envelopes which are not finished. Finished bulbs (those which are imported with either a filament and/or the metallic base) are classifiable eo nomine under heading 8539, HTSUS, which provides for electrical filament or discharge lamps, including sealed beam lamp units and ultraviolet or infrared lamps; arc lamps and parts thereof.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY B88262 is hereby REVOKED. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. §1625 (c), this ruling will become effective sixty (60) days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division