CLA-2 RR:CTF:TCM 968227 HkP
Mr. Brent Reider
International Trade Group, Inc.
Postal Drawer 21877
Columbus, OH 43221-0877
RE: Modification of NY G87863; solar powered battery charger with rechargeable battery
Dear Mr. Reider:
This is in reference to New York Ruling Letter (“NY”) G87863, issued to you on March 26, 2001, in which a solar powered battery charger with rechargeable battery was classified under the Harmonized Tariff of the United States (“HTSUS”). We have reconsidered NY G87863 and determined that the tariff classification of the battery charger set is incorrect. This letter sets forth the correct classification.
Pursuant to section 625(c), 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, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation was published on June 28, 2006, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 40, No. 27. No comments were received in response to this notice.
NY G87863 described the merchandise as a solar powered battery charger with rechargeable battery. CBP classified the merchandise in subheading 8507.20.8030, HTSUS, which provides for other acid lead storage batteries.
If imported separately, the battery and the battery charger would be classified under headings 8507 and 8504, HTSUS, respectively.
What is the essential character of the battery charger set?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is 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 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
8504 Electrical transformers, static converters (for example, rectifiers) and inductors; parts thereof:
8504.40 Static converters:
Rectifiers and rectifying apparatus:
8507 Electric storage batteries, including separators therefor, whether or not rectangular (including square); parts thereof:
8507.80 Other storage batteries:
Although not explicitly stated in NY G87863, we assume that the battery charger with rechargeable battery was considered to be a set for classification purposes. For purposes of this ruling, we assume the same.
GRI 3 provides, in pertinent part, that:
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 follows:
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 applicable.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not 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. See T.D. 89-80. Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) explains, “[t]he factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of the constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.” Court decisions on essential character for GRI 3(b) purposes have looked primarily to the role of the constituent material in relation to the use of the good. See Better Home Plastics Corp. v. U.S., 915 F. Supp. 1265 (CIT 1996), aff’d 119 F. 3d 969 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (“Better Home Plastics”); Mita Copystar America, Inc. v. U.S., 966 F. Supp. 1245 (CIT 1997), rehear’g denied, 994 F. Supp. 393 (1998); Vista Int’l Packing Co. v. U.S., 890 F. Supp. 1095 (CIT 1995). See also Pillowtex Corp. v. U.S., 893 F. Supp. 188 (CIT 1997), aff’d 171 F. 3d 1370 (CAFC 1999); Avenues in Leather, Inc. v. U.S., 2004 Ct. Int’l Trade LEXIS 39, aff’d 423 F.3d 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2005).
We note that, prior to initial use, the rechargeable battery must be fully charged in order to be useful. Further, every time the battery needs charging, the charger must be used. We find, therefore, that the battery charger is essential to the effectiveness of the rechargeable battery. We also note that the rechargeable battery has a limited shelf life. Once it can no longer hold a charge, it is discarded, and new a rechargeable battery must be purchased. In this sense, the battery becomes “disposable” while the charger remains functional.
CBP has previously held, in relation to similar merchandise, that the battery charging component imparts the set’s essential character because the purpose of the set is to charge batteries. The main reason for purchasing the set is not to obtain batteries, but rather to obtain a device which decreases the need to periodically purchase new batteries. See HQ 083672, dated May 16, 1989, NY E80178, dated April 29, 1999. So too, in the instant case, we find that the purpose of the subject battery charger set is to charge batteries, and that such sets are provided for under subheading 8504.40.9550, HTSUS, as “other” rectifiers and rectifying apparatus.
By application of GRI 3(b), we find that the subject battery charger set is provided for in heading 8504, specifically subheading 8504.40.9550, HTSUS, which provides for: “Electrical transformers, static converters (for example, rectifiers) and inductors; …: Static converters: Other: Rectifiers and rectifying apparatus: Other.”
The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
NY G87863, dated March 26, 2001, is hereby modified with respect to the classification of the solar powered battery charger with rechargeable battery. The classification of the other items in NY G87863 is unchanged. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. §1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division