CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956371 DFC
District Director of Customs
300 S. Ferry Street
Terminal Island, CA 90731
RE: Protest 2704-93-103834; Flashlight with key ring;
Composite good; Essential character; NYRL's 862632,867297
Dear District Director:
This is in response to Protest 2704-93-103834 covering a
shipment of plastic flashlights with metal key rings.
The merchandise involved consists of a battery operated
flashlight and a key ring. The light portion of the article is
in a triangular shaped plastic housing with each side measuring
approximately two and one-eighth inches in length. The light is
designed to provide low intensity illumination and is activated
by pressing down on the plastic housing. Attached to the plastic
housing is a small metal key ring.
The entry covering this merchandise was liquidated on
October 15, 1993, under subheading 8513.10.20, Harmonized Tariff
Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for
flashlights. The protest was timely filed on December 8, 1993.
The protestant claims that the merchandise is essentially a
keychain and properly classifiable under subheading 3926.90.95,
HTSUS, which provides for other articles of plastics, other.
Does the key ring or the battery operated flashlight impart
the essential character to the merchandise?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the
General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that
"classification shall be determined according to the terms of the
headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and, provided
such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to
[the remaining GRI's]." In other words, classification is
governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any
relative section or chapter notes.
Protestant's claim for classification under subheading
3926.90.95, HTSUS, is misplaced because the key chain is of metal
and not plastic. The only plastic component is the housing for
the flashlight. Because protestant could have claimed
classification under subheading 7326.20.00, HTSUS, which provides
for articles of iron or steel wire, we have given consideration
to that provision.
The competing provisions are as follows:
7326 Other articles of iron or steel:
* * *
7326.20.00 Articles of iron or steel wire . . . . .
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
8513.10.20 Flashlights . . . . .
Inasmuch as the flashlight with the key ring is a composite
good [flashlight plus key ring] its classification is governed by
GRI 3(b), HTSUS, which reads, as follows:
3. When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other
reason, goods are prima facie, classifiable under two
or more headings, classification shall be effected as
(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different
materials or made up of different components . . .
which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a),
shall be classified as if they consisted of the
material or component which gives them their
essential character, insofar as this criterion is
The flashlight with the key ring is prima facie classifiable
under subheading 7326.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for articles
of iron or steel wire, or under subheading 8513.10.20, HTSUS,
which provides for flashlights.
Customs has defined flashlights as small battery-operated
portable electric lights normally held in the hand by the housing
itself, the primary function of which is to project a beam of
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System
Explanatory Notes to the HTSUS (EN), although not dispositive,
should be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUS.
See T.D. 89-80, 54 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
Composite goods are classifiable as if they consisted of the
component which gives them their essential character. EN VIII to
GRI 3(b), at page 4, reads as follows:
(VIII) The factor which determines essential character
will vary as between different kinds of goods. It
may, for example, be determined by the nature of
the materials or component, its bulk, quantity,
weight or value, or by the role of a constituent
material in relation to the use of the goods.
It is our opinion that the flashlight portion of the product
imparts the essential character thereto. Specifically, the
primary function of the combination is the illumination provided
by the flashlight. Consequently, the flashlight with the key
ring is classifiable as a flashlight under subheading 8513.10.20,
HTSUS. See NYRL 862632 dated May 10, 1991 and 867297 dated
October 18, 1991.
The battery operated flashlight imparts the essential
character to the merchandise.
The flashlight with the key ring is dutiable at the rate of
25% ad valorem under subheading 8513.10.20, HTSUS.
The protest should be denied. In accordance with Section
3A(11) (b) of Customs Directive 099 3550, dated August 4, 1993,
Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision together with
the Customs Form 19, should be mailed by your office to the
protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter.
Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision
must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty
days from the date of the decision the office of Regulations and
Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs
personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public
via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act
and other public access channels.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division