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Customs Classifications Harmonised for a Battery-operated Ornament, an Electronic Instrument and a Textile Article

On 23 May 2015, the EU’s Official Journal published three regulations intended to ensure a uniform application of the Combined Nomenclature for the classification of goods, for customs purposes. The regulations concern the following product items: a battery powered flashing light for ornamental use, an electronic instrument, and a textile article (a hoist).

In addition, a regulation has been published which suspends the autonomous common customs tariff duties on certain heavy oils and similar products.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/803 sets out an image of the product it describes. The product is an article in the shape of a human skull made of plastics, measuring approximately 9 × 11 × 7 cm. It contains flashing light emitting diodes (LEDs) that are powered by a battery and are embedded in the eye sockets of the skull and can be turned on and off using a switch at the base of the article. The Regulation explains that the article cannot be classified as a lamp under heading 9405, because it is not primarily designed to illuminate a room, nor is it a specialised lamp. Furthermore, according to its objective characteristics, the article is not exclusively designed as a festive article, as it can be used as a decorative ornament throughout the year. Due to its objective characteristics, the article is mainly designed for ornamental use.

The illumination is only an additional effect enhancing the ornamental use. The article is therefore to be classified under CN code 3926 40 00 as other ornamental articles of plastics, attracting a conventional duty rate of 6.5%.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/804 contains an image of a textile article, which is described as being designed to hold a person in a sitting position when being lifted by a hoist. The article consists of a woven textile fabric (polyester), essentially in the shape of a rectangle. One of the two short sides of the rectangle has two flap-like extensions, which function as a seat. The rest of the fabric supports the back and the sides of the person. Some parts of the fabric are padded (inserts of polypropylene foam). Several textile straps are sewn to the edges of the fabric, so that the article can be attached to the hoist and be lifted. Classification under CN code 8431 31 00 as a part suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8428 (lifts, hoists etc.) is excluded, because the article is not indispensable for the functioning of the hoist.

The article is mainly made of textile material and the different parts are assembled by sewing. The article is therefore to be classified under CN code 6307 90 98 as ‘other made-up textile articles’, attracting a conventional duty rate of 6.3%.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/805 describes an electronic instrument (so-called ‘rate gyro’) with a weight of 35 g, comprising up to three angular velocity sensors, in a housing with dimensions of 24 × 24 × 28 mm. The housing also contains a temperature sensor and various electronics and is equipped with a cable. The instrument is presented to be used for giving various apparatus, such as wind turbines, engines or industrial machines, instructions on the appropriate position to operate. As the instrument is not used for navigation, classification under heading 9014 as navigational instruments or as parts and accessories thereof is excluded. Although the instrument senses the number of degrees per second, it is not similar to speed indicators of heading 9029, as the detected values are not indicated on the instrument but transmitted, in the form of an electrical signal, to other apparatus.

The rate gyro article is therefore to be classified under CN code 9031 80 38 as other electronic measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines not specified elsewhere in Chapter 90. It attracts a conventional duty rate of 4%.

For all three regulations outlined above, binding tariff information which does not conform to them may continue to be invoked for a period of three months from the date of their entry into force. All three regulations entered into force on the twentieth day following that of their publication in the Official Journal.

Finally, also on 23 May 2015, the Official Journal published Council Regulation 2015/802 which suspends the autonomous common customs tariff duties on certain heavy oils and similar products. The Regulation notes that, for certain oils and similar products falling under heading 2710 of the Combined Nomenclature which fulfil certain conditions, the autonomous rate of duty has been suspended. Nonetheless, as from 4 April 2013, certain heavy oils and similar products, which were classified under heading 2710 (thereby enjoying duty free treatment for an indefinite period), have been classified under heading 2707, without any duty free treatment. This position was amended, but only with effect from 1 July 2014, when Council Regulation 1387/2013 granted those heavy oils and similar products a temporary suspension of the duties.

New Regulation 2015/802 now provides that, given that in the EU there is no supply of such heavy oils and similar products, the temporary suspension of the duties should have been applied without the interruption during the period 4 April 2013 to 30 June 2014, provided that certain conditions apply. Hong Kong traders who have been involved in exporting these products to the EU should examine Regulation 2015/802 carefully, in order to evaluate if they might be able to benefit from a retroactive suspension of customs duties.

Please click the following link to read Council Regulation 2015/802.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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