Lan CaoC&C Customs Brokerage Inc. 4415 W. 145th StreetLawndale, CA 90260 RE: The tariff classification of a photovoltaic generator from China Dear Mr. Cao: In your letter dated May 18, 2018 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Expert Computer International Inc. A sample has been submitted to this office and will be returned to you.
The item under consideration is identified as the Phone Charger/Solar Charger which is described as consisting of fifteen 10”x 5” rectangular photovoltaic cells within a 3’x 3’ foldable fabric support frame, 10 interchangeable connectors in a plastic carrier, a USB to DC cable, a USB to Micro USB cable, a DC to automotive plug cable, a DC cable to a pair of battery clamps, and 4 carabiner clips. The panel is said to produce 100 Watts of peak electrical power and with the various connection apparatus contained in the set can be used to directly apply power and charge various devices such as music players, laptops, 12V car batteries, digital cameras, mobile phones, and more. You state the contents of the Phone Charger/Solar Charger are imported together as a set in a retail package.
You describe the panel as made up of individual photovoltaic cells that have been laminated and interconnected before being sewn into a fabric carrier, which allows the panel to be foldable and flexible. Internally, the panel is equipped with a voltage regulator with auto-detect and overcharge control electronics. The electricity generated by the panel is fed to two USB outputs to charge 5V devices, and one 18VDC output to charge devices between 12-18 volts.
The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Tariff System, although not legally binding, provide guidance in the interpretation of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System at the international level. Explanatory Note X to General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) 3 (b) provides that the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" means goods that; (a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings; (b) consist of articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without re-packing. The Phone Charger/Solar Charger, in our opinion, meets the criteria for sets as the terms are defined.
Having determined that the Phone Charger/Solar Charger constitutes a set for tariff classification purposes, we must decide the essential character for the set. Essential character may 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. In the opinion of this office, the photovoltaic panel imparts the essential character of the set. Therefore, in accordance with GRI 3(b), the Phone Charger/Solar Charger will be classified accordingly.The heading for electric generators covers photovoltaic generators, including those that are equipped with apparatus such as voltage regulators and cables in order to supply power directly to external devices. See Ruling Letter (HQ) H136116, dated March 2, 2011 classifying similar solar generators in heading 8501, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).
The applicable subheading for the 100 watt solar panel charger kit will be 8501.31.8010, HTSUS, which provides for “Electric motors and generators (excluding generating sets): other DC motors; DC generators: of an output not exceeding 750 W: Generators: Photovoltaic generators of a kind described in statistical note 9 to this chapter. The general rate of duty is 2.5% ad valorem. 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 https://hts.usitc.gov/current.The merchandise in question may be subject to antidumping duties or countervailing duties. Written decisions regarding the scope of AD/CVD orders are issued by the Import Administration in the Department of Commerce and are separate from tariff classification and origin rulings issued by Customs and Border Protection. You can contact them at http://www.trade.gov/ia/ (click on “Contact Us”). For your information, you can view a list of current AD/CVD cases at the United States International Trade Commission website at http://www.usitc.gov (go to Popular Topics, click on “Antidumping and countervailing duty investigations”), and you can search AD/CVD deposit and liquidation messages using the AD/CVD Search tool at https://www.cbp.gov/trade/priority-issues/adcvd.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 the National Import Specialist at email@example.com.Sincerely,
Steven A. MackDirectorNational Commodity Specialist Division