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LED Bulbs Classifiable as Electroluminescent Devices, CBP Rules

Friday, February 28, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

In the Feb. 26, 2014, Customs Bulletin and Decisions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection revoked four rulings concerning the classification of certain light-emitting diode bulbs, effective April 28. Rulings NY N020630, NY M83236, NY L84113 and NY E89000 classified the LED bulbs as filament, discharge or arc lamps under HTSUS 8539.39.00 or 8539.49.00. New rulings HQ H135615, HQ H024762, HQ H072515 and HQ H024869 classify the bulbs as electric luminescent lamps under HTSUS 8543.70.70 (2% duty).

CBP explains that the LED bulbs meet the definition of “lamp” because they provide an isolated source of light but that they are not classified under heading 8539 because they function differently than the filament, discharge and arc bulbs covered by that heading. The LED bulbs are classifiable under heading 8543 because they are electrical apparatus (i.e., they convert electrical energy into electromagnetic radiation when current is applied) having individual functions (i.e., to generate light, a different role than that of the lighting fixtures into which they are placed). Further, they are based on LEDs, which are electroluminescent substances, and are thus considered electroluminescent devices. Because the LED bulbs are classifiable under HTSUS Chapter 85, they are excluded from classification as lamps and lighting fittings not elsewhere specified or included under heading 9405.

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