Ms. Susan Friend
Yamato Customs Brokers U.S.A., Inc.
920 N. Dillon Drive
Wood Dale, IL 60191
RE: The tariff classification of fluorescent light bulbs from China.
Dear Ms. Friend:
In your letter dated January 17, 2001, on behalf of Technical Consumer Products, you requested a tariff classification and marking ruling.
The samples submitted consist of two fluorescent light bulbs, referred to as the “Spring Lamps,” that consist of the following: a coiled tube-like fluorescent light bulb, permanently affixed to the plastic housing of the ballast, with a screw-in base; and a removable coiled tube-like fluorescent light bulb, secured to the sockets atop of the housing for the ballast, with a screw-in base. Each of these light bulbs is packed for retail sale with the country of origin indicating “Made in China” printed onto its cardboard box.
The applicable subheading for these fluorescent light bulbs will be 8539.31.0060, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for discharge lamps, other than ultraviolet lamps: fluorescent, hot cathode, other: with a single screw-in base. The rate of duty will be 2.4 percent ad valorem.
The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the
U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.
Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(d), defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. If an imported article is to be sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser. In this case, the ultimate purchaser of the light bulbs is the consumer who purchases the product at retail.
An article is excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(d)), if the marking of a container of such article will reasonably indicate the origin of such article. Accordingly, if Customs is satisfied that the article will remain in its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser and if the ultimate purchaser can tell the country of origin of the light bulb by viewing the container (cardboard box) in which it is packaged, the individual light bulbs would be excepted from marking under this provision.
Light bulbs which are imported in containers (cardboard boxes) that are marked in the manner described above, are excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.32(d). Accordingly, marking the container in which the light bulb is imported and sold to the ultimate purchaser in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported light bulb provided the port director is satisfied that the article will remain in the marked container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser.
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 George Kalkines at 212-637-7073.
Robert B. Swierupski