The Mooney Law Firm
2717 Neuchatel Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32303
RE: The tariff classification and applicability of trade remedies of a photovoltaic generator from Taiwan
Dear Ms. Liang:
In your letter dated July 9, 2021 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Mega Sunergy Co. Ltd.
The merchandise under consideration is described as a solar panel for a wireless outdoor camera (generator). The photovoltaic surface area measures 174 cm and is mounted inside a plastic enclosure. A 4 m long output cable having a micro USB connector on one end is permanently attached to the back side of the generator. Internally, the generator does not incorporate static converting apparatus and based on the provided specifications, it has a maximum output of 5.57 V and 2 Watts. You have provided a sample of the generator, which is in a retail box along with a mounting plate and hardware, and we would note that the photovoltaic surface is comprised of plastic and not glass.
In your request, you suggest subheading 8501.31.8010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) as an appropriate tariff classification for the subject generator. We agree.
The applicable subheading for the wireless photovoltaic generator 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.
The Solar 201 safeguard was implemented in accordance with Presidential Proclamation 9693, dated January 23, 2018, which was promulgated in pursuant to Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. §2252). See Fed. Reg. Vol. 83, No. 17 (Jan. 25, 2018). The Solar 201 safeguard establishes a tariff-rate quota and additional duties on imports of CSPV “cells” and “modules.” In particular, the proclamation calls for amendment of Chapter 99, Subchapter III, HTSUS, to create subheadings 9903.45.21 and 9903.45.22, which apply to CSPV cells, and 9903.45.25, which applies to CSPV modules. The proclamation also calls for amendment of Chapter 99, Subchapter III, to create a new legal note, Note 18, to define the products classifiable in subheadings 9903.45.21 to 9903.45.25 and set forth the additional rates of duties to be applied to these products. These amendments to Chapter 99 went into effect on February 7, 2018 and will remain in effect until February 6, 2022.
In your letter, you state that the additional rates of duty are not applicable to the subject generator because it is excluded from the scope of subheading 9903.45.25, HTSUS, for two reasons: the generator is off-grid and portable, and the generator’s carton satisfies the foldable case requirement. We disagree.
Note 18 to Subchapter III of Chapter 99 provides, in relevant part, as follows:
(iii) Subheading 9903.45.25 shall not cover the following goods, whether or not separate statistical reporting numbers therefor may appear in chapters 1 through 97 of the tariff schedule:
(4) off-grid and portable CSPV panels, whether in a foldable case or in rigid form containing a glass cover, where the panels have the following characteristics:
(A) a total power output of 100 watts or less per panel;
(B) a maximum surface area of 8,000 cm2 per panel;
(C) do not include a built-in inverter;
(D) where the panels have glass covers, such panels must be in individual retail packaging (for purposes of this provision, retail packaging typically includes graphics, the product name, its description and/or features, and
foam for transport);
In order to qualify for the exclusion set forth in Chapter 99, Subchapter III, Note 18(c)(iii)(4), certain enumerated characteristics must be present in the product at issue. You state that the photovoltaic generator is designed to provide off-grid and portable electrical power and has a maximum output of 2 Watts. Further, we would reiterate that the device does not contain an inverter, is in rigid form, has a plastic covering, and has a surface area of 174 cm.
A plain reading of Chapter 99, Subchapter III, Note 18(c)(iii)(4) indicates two particular types of off-grid and portable CSPV panels: (1) those in a foldable case; or (2) those in rigid form, containing a glass cover, and sold in a retail package. Once the determination is made as to which type of panel is under review, the additional features listed in (A) through (D) are referenced. However, we would note that neither of the prerequisites are met because the subject generator is in rigid form with a plastic covering, and the device does not incorporate a foldable case. You state that the shipping carton satisfies the foldable case requirement, to which we disagree entirely. Cartons and/or shipping boxes are articles of packaging, and the exclusion text does not call for such foldable articles as a requirement.
Furthermore, we would note that the photovoltaic generator is shipped with a mounting plate and articulating pole that the panel is mounted to during installation. In our view, while the “off-grid” requirements are clearly satisfied, the portable feature is not. The exclusion was written for certain specific types of photovoltaic generators, ones that have protective covers that fold, that are moveable from one location to another, and have the ability to be portable. The generator under review here is intended to be mounted to a wall in close proximity to direct sunlight. The instructions specifically provide for the device to be mounted with the provided screws. In light of these facts, the subject generator is not considered portable for the purposes of this note.
Based on the foregoing, because the product at issue is not subject to the exemption set out in Note 18(c)(iii)(4) to Chapter 99, it falls within the scope of subheading 9903.45.25, HTSUS, and is subject to the Solar 201 safeguard. As products of subheading 9903.45.25, they are dutiable at the rates set forth in Chapter 99, Subchapter III, Note 18(f), HTSUS, in addition to any rates applicable under subheading 8501.31.80, HTSUS.
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 https://hts.usitc.gov/current.
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 Karl Moosbrugger at [email protected]
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division