Paula Connelly
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, PA
100 Trade Center, Suite G-700
Woburn, MA 01801

RE: The tariff classification of printed circuit boards (PCB’s) for motor vehicle lighting from China

Dear Ms. Connelly:

In your letter dated July 14, 2020, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Osram Continental USA, Inc., of Hendersonville, TN.

The items under consideration have been identified as two (2) models of PCB’s used in motor vehicle LED lighting (part numbers: 39031/D30013158 and 38983/ D30020119), which you state in your request includes applications such as side markers, daytime running lamps, turn signals, reverse lights and parking lights. You state that the PCB’s act as a conduit between the body control unit and the finished LED lamps.

The LED headlights or tail lamps include the following key basic electronic components: the LED module along with associated optical and mechanical components and the lighting control unit (LCU). The LCU printed circuit board (PCB) contains the current regulators and other power converters. There are also microprocessor in some headlamp LCU’s. The body control unit (BCU) located near the cabin sends commands to the LCU. The LCU ultimately manages all the body functions in the vehicle. Unlike traditional halogen bulbs, LEDs are constant current driven devices, not voltage driven devices. The current correlates with junction temperature and hence color. Even a minuscule change in voltage can lead to a huge change in current, which will result in catastrophic failure of the LED.

As we stated above, the boards for headlamps require high power, are utilizing high-efficiency, switching-based driver electronics circuit and for this reason included boost converters and buck converters. Headlamp LCU circuits are a two stage DC-to-DC converter. The front end includes a boost converter generating a stable intermediate voltage followed by two independently operating buck converters providing the constant current to the LED. These would be included in part 39031 and similar LCU’s used in headlamps. In contrast, the boards for rear lights and other exterior lights tend to be lower power and allow the use of a linear regulator to generate constant current. An example of this board is part number 38983. These boards do not perform the function of the illuminating the LED.

The applicable subheading for the PCB’s (part numbers: 39031/D30013158 and 38983/ D30020119) will be 8512.90.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Electrical lighting or signaling equipment…, windshield wipers, defrosters and demisters, of a kind used for cycles or motor vehicles; parts thereof: Parts: Of Lighting equipment: Other”. The rate of duty will be Free.

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 the World Wide Web at

Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 8512.90.6000, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.03, in addition to subheading 8512.90.6000, HTSUS, listed above.

On September 27, 2019, the Office of US Trade Representative (USTR) announced the Section 301 Tariffs exemption list. A new HTSUS note 20(qq) to subchapter III of chapter 99, 9903.88.38 was implemented. As set out in the Annex to the Federal Register (FR) notice, product exclusions were reflected in the specially prepared product descriptions, which included:

(75) Printed circuit board assemblies of a kind used in motor vehicle lighting systems (described in statistical reporting number 8512.90.6000)

As the subject merchandise qualifies for the exclusion from the additional duties imposed by subheading 9903.88.03 per Note 20(qq) to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, it must also be entered under subheading 9903.88.38.

The HTSUS is subject to periodic amendment so you should exercise reasonable care in monitoring the status of goods covered by the Note cited above and the applicable Chapter 99 subheading. For background information regarding the trade remedy initiated pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, you may refer to the relevant parts of the USTR and CBP websites, which are available at and, respectively.

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 Matthew Sullivan at [email protected]


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division