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LED-Powered Candles Classified as Electric Lamps, Court Rules

Friday, August 11, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Court of International Trade ruled Aug. 2 that candle-like goods powered by light-emitting diodes are properly classified as other electric lamps under HTSUS 9405.40.80 (3.9 percent duty). The plaintiff had sought classification as electric luminescent lamps under HTSUS 8543.70.70 (2 percent duty), other electrical machines under HTSUS 8543.70.96 (2.6 percent duty), LEDs under HTSUS 8541.40.20 (duty-free), or other semiconductor devices under HTSUS 8541.50.00 (duty-free).

The articles at issue are principally composed of translucent wax or plastic and are made to resemble styles of ordinary candles, such as votives, pillars, tapers, or tea lights. They provide illumination by means of a light-emitting diode powered by an internal battery. These goods provide decoration as well as illumination and some have holiday themes.

The CIT states that these articles are not classifiable in heading 8541 because they contain other major components besides an LED and therefore do not conform to a common or commercial definition of the term “semiconductor device” or “LED.” In addition, the court states, the Explanatory Notes relating to Chapter 85, to certain headings therein, and to heading 9405 support the conclusion that goods such as these (i.e., self-contained lamps suitable for household use as illuminating and decorative articles) were intended by the drafters of the Harmonized System to fall within heading 9405 rather than heading 8543.

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