Mr. Michael T. Shor
Arnold & Potter LLP
555 Twelfth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004-1206

RE: The tariff classification of an electric scent heater/diffuser from China

Dear Mr. Shor:

In your letter dated September 24, 2009 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your clients Jeyes Limited and Jeyes, Inc.

The article in question is described as a plug-in electric room fragrance heater/diffuser you plan to import from China, pay duty, and then re-export to Mexico for packaging in retail sets with dedicated, replaceable scent bulbs filled with scented oil. You inquire as to the classification of the heater/diffuser when imported from China.

The heater/diffuser is an electrothermic device incorporating an electric heating element that heats scented oil within a scent bulb. The scent bulb is designed to attach directly to and is dedicated for use with the heater/diffuser.

The applicable subheading for the electric heater/diffuser, whether presented with or without a scent bulb, will be 8516.79.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for other electrothermic appliances. The rate of duty will be 2.7 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the scent bulb, when presented separately, will be 8516.90.9000, HTSUS, which provides for other parts electrothermic appliances. The rate of duty will be 3.9 percent ad valorem.

You also inquire as to the applicability of subheading 9801.00.2000, HTSUS, to the heater/diffuser. In support of your belief that the heater/diffuser is eligible for duty-free treatment under subheading 9801.00.2000, HTSUS, upon re-importation into the United States after being packaged together with a scent bulb in Mexico you cite Headquarters ruling 964960.

Subheading 9801.00.2000, HTSUS, provides for duty-free treatment for articles, previously imported, with respect to which the duty was paid upon such previous importation or which were previously free of duty pursuant to the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act or Title V of the Trade Act of 1974, if (1) re-imported, without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means while abroad, after having been exported under lease or similar use agreements, and (2) re-imported by or for the account of the person who imported it into, and exported it from, the United States.

In the instant case, the article imported from Mexico is not simply a heater/diffuser, but rather a complete, albeit unassembled, electrothermic appliance comprised of a heater/diffuser and a scent bulb. Unlike the sheets and pillowcases considered in Headquarters ruling 964960, the appliance here, as a whole, does not meet the “previously imported” requirement of HTSUS subheading 9801.00200. We find no authority under relevant law to constructively separate the heater/diffuser from the scent bulb for the purpose of determining its tariff treatment. Once packaged together in Mexico, the heater/diffuser and scent bulb become a single article of commerce, classifiable by operation of General Rule of Interpretation 2(a) in subheading 8516.79.0000, HTSUS, as an unassembled electrothermic appliance. Accordingly, the heater/diffuser is not separately eligible for treatment under subheading 9801.00.2000, HTSUS.

Since we find that the heater/diffuser is not eligible for treatment under HTSUS subheading 9801.2000, questions raised regarding the appropriate country of origin marking if the heater/diffuser is separately entered are moot.

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

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Kenneth T. Brock at (646) 733-3009.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division