November 30, 1992
CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952669 RFA
TARIFF NO.: 8527.19.00
W.J. Gonzalez Trans-Union Customs Service 11941 S. Prairie Ave.
Hawthorne, CA 90250
RE: AM/FM Radio/Flashlight; Siren; GRI 3(c); 8513.10.20; 8527.19.00; HQ 087161; HQ 952494
Dear W.J. Gonzalez:
In a letter dated August 17, 1992, to our New York office on behalf of Consolidated Marketing International, you inquired as to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of an AM/FM radio-flashlight with an electronic siren manufactured in China. Your letter and sample were referred to this office for a direct response.
The sample submitted is a small portable battery operated combination AM/FM radio/flashlight in a long tubular plastic housing. It measures approximately 5 1/2 inches in length and has an attached textile wrist strap. The combination article contains an AM/FM radio, frequency tuner, a speaker and sound amplifier, a clear lens, a filament bulb with a reflector and socket, as well as a siren feature. The sample is powered by two penlight batteries.
What is the proper classification of the combination AM/FM radio/flashlight with a siren feature under the HTSUS?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order.
As stated above, the merchandise is a combination radio and flashlight with a siren function. After examining the merchandise, we are of the opinion that the siren is a secondary function of the device and does not warrant equal consideration in comparison to the flashlight and the radio in determining its essential character. Therefore, the merchandise is prima facie classifiable under two headings. It is classifiable in subheading 8513.10.20, HTSUS, which provides for flashlights, as well as in subheading 8527.19.00, HTSUS, which provides for radios.
Because classification in a single heading cannot be determined by applying GRI 1, we must apply the other GRI's. GRI 2(b) states that if a product is a mixture or combination of materials or substances that are, prima facie, classifiable in two or more headings, then GRI 3 applies. GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.
The article is essentially a composite good made up of a flashlight and an AM/FM radio. Therefore, the component that imparts the essential character to this article determines its classification.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. EN VIII to GRI 3(b), page 4, states that the factors will vary as between different kinds of goods to determine the essential character of an article. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.
In HQ 087161 (August 2, 1990), we classified an AM/FM radio attached to a baseball-style cap according to the rule in GRI 3(c). In that ruling we held that
both the radio and the cap play an equal role in relation to the use of the merchandise. The radio cap would not be purchased for just one of its components. If a purchaser wanted a baseball-style cap, there would be no need for the radio component. Similarly, if a purchaser wanted a portable radio, an article similar to a Walkman-type radio could be purchased, and there would be no need for a cap component.
We followed HQ 087161 and applied GRI 3(c) to a combination radio-flashlight in HQ 952494 (October 8, 1992). In HQ 952494, we held that
both the flashlight and the radio play an equal role in relation to the use of the merchandise. The torch radio would not be purchased for just one of its components. As you stated in your letter, if a person wanted hand carry illumination, they would purchase a flashlight since it would be cheaper. You also stated that Enterprex sells a sports radio without the flashlight. If a person wanted a radio they would buy a radio like Enterprex Sports Radio, model no. GL909. The item here, the Sports AM/FM Torch Radio, offers a person an article that serves the purposes of both a flashlight and that of a radio.
The subject merchandise is substantially like the AM/FM Torch Radio in HQ 952494. As in HQ 952494 and HQ 087161, neither of the components here (the radio and the flashlight), by itself, imparts the essential character to this merchandise. Therefore, GRI 3(c) is applicable. GRI 3(c) states the following:
When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.
The heading that occurs last in numerical order is Heading 8527, HTSUS. Therefore, the submitted merchandise is classified in this heading.
The submitted merchandise is classifiable under subheading 8527.19.00, HTSUS, which provides for reception apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy or radio-broadcasting, whether
or not combined, in the same housing, with sound recording or reproducing apparatus or a clock,. . .[o]ther. The column 1, general rate of duty is 6 percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director Commercial Rulings Division