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EU Harmonises Classification of Textile Articles, Gardening Kits, Sewing Machines and Electronic Devices, Among Others

Several Commission regulations have been published recently concerning the classification of goods in the combined nomenclature (CN). These consist of, among others, knitted interior blinds of synthetic fibres, a gardening kit, an arm sleeve for smartphones, a sewing machine, an electronic money box and a PV junction box. As such, the customs classification of these articles are all likely to be of concern to a number of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese exporters to the EU.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2016/137, published on 3 February 2016, concerns an article consisting of a rectangular piece of transparent textile material made of knitted closed weave fabric of synthetic fibres, a plastic rail and a roller mechanism of plastic and metal (images provided in the Regulation). On one end, the fabric is fixed to the roller mechanism, which is designed to be fixed permanently into a door panel. On the other end, the fabric is fixed to the plastic rail that has a fixture mechanism allowing it to be attached to the frame of the window of the motor vehicle. Due to the fact that the article is designed to be fixed permanently into the door panel of a specific motor vehicle and cannot be removed and fixed to no matter which other window pane, it is an interior blind of heading 6303. The article is assembled from parts of textile material, plastics and metal. It is therefore a made-up article which is to be classified under CN code 6303 12 00 as knitted interior blinds of synthetic fibres, attracting a conventional duty rate of 12%.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/2351, published on 14 December 2015, concerns a gardening kit presented in a plastic packaging consisting of the following six articles (image provided in the Regulation): (a) 1 bag, made of woven textile fabric, with an outer surface of textile materials with 1 large internal and 4 smaller external pockets; (b) 1 pair of gloves, made primarily of woven textile fabric with a minor coating of cellular plastics on the palm side; (c) 1 pair of pruning shears of base metal; (d) 1 gardening trowel of base metal; (e) 12 plastic marker sticks and (f) 1 pencil with a lead of graphite. The bag is used to contain the other articles and can be used independently of any gardening activity. The pencil is also not a gardening tool and has its own practical use elsewhere. As not all of the items of the ‘set’ are put up together to meet a particular need or to carry out a specific activity, the items cannot be considered as goods put up in a set for retail sale. As a consequence, each article must be classified separately. The articles are to be classified, respectively: (a) under CN code 4202 22 90 as a handbag with outer surface of textile material, attracting a conventional duty rate of 3.7%; (b) under CN code 6216 00 00 as gloves, attracting a conventional duty rate of 7.6%; (c) under CN code 8201 50 00 as shears, attracting a conventional duty rate of 1.7%; (d) under CN code 8201 00 00 as a shovel, attracting a conventional duty rate of 1.7%; (e) under CN code 3926 90 97 as other articles of plastics, attracting a conventional duty rate of 6.5% and (f) under CN code 9609 10 10 as a pencil with lead of graphite, attracting a conventional duty rate of 2.7%.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/2318, published on 12 December 2015, concerns an article (so-called ‘arm sleeve for smartphone’ – images provided in the Regulation) made predominantly of textile material. It consists of a case for a mobile phone with an elasticated band, serving to attach it to the upper arm. The back of the case has a slit-type opening into which a mobile phone can be inserted and there is a rectangular transparent panel made of plastic sheeting on the front side of the article. The back of the article and the fixed band consist of rubberised textile fabric. As the article is designed to hold a specific item (mobile phone, smartphone), it has the objective characteristics of a container similar to containers specified in the wording of heading 4204. Consequently, classification as other made-up textile articles under heading 6307 is excluded. The article is therefore to be classified under CN code 4202 92 98 as cases with outer surface of textile materials, attracting a conventional duty rate of 2.7%.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/2317, also published on 12 December 2015, concerns a free arm sewing machine of the household type with a built-in electric motor of an output of 70 watts, equipped essentially with a needle plate, presser foot, bobbin case, controls, built-in light, cabled foot peddle and various accessories. It weighs approximately 7 kg, offers over 24 sewing programmes and has a value of more than EUR 65. The sewing machine can produce various types of stiches, but all stitches are based on the lock-stitch technique. Given its function, construction, physical characteristics and way of operation, the sewing machine is to be considered a sewing machine of a lock-stitch only type of subheading 8452 10. The product is therefore to be classified under CN code 8452 10 11 as sewing machines of the household type, lock-stitch only, having a value of more than EUR 65 each. This entry attracts a conventional duty rate of 5.7%.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/2316, also published on 12 December 2015, concerns a cylindrical-shaped, battery-operated article made of plastics with a lid (so-called ‘electronic money box’ – image provided in the Regulation). The lid includes a small LCD display and a slot to put coins in. The article is composite goods consisting of a plastic container and a calculating device. Compared to ordinary money boxes, the calculating device gives the article its essential character. Therefore, classification according to its constituent material (Chapter 39) is excluded. As the article does not comprise any manual arrangements for data input, it is not considered as a calculating machine. The calculating device makes it possible to add at least two figures, each comprising several digits, fulfilling the requirements for classification as a calculation device. The whole article is thus to be classified under CN code 8470 90 00 as other machines with a calculating device. This entry is not subject to any conventional rate of duty.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/2315, also published on 12 December 2015, concerns an article consisting of a plastic housing containing 4 metal terminals, diodes and cables with connectors (so-called ‘Photovoltaic (PV) junction box’ – image provided in the Regulation). The PV junction box is a device for transmitting electricity to another PV module or inverter. Classification under heading 8541 as diodes is excluded as the diodes only protect the article against overvoltage and do not significantly change the characteristics and properties of the article as a PV junction box. As the article is provided with cables, classification under heading 8536 as an apparatus for making connections to or in electrical circuits is also excluded. The article is therefore to be classified under CN code 8544 42 90 as other electric conductors fitted with connectors, attracting a conventional duty rate of 3.3%.

Other similar recent Official Journal publications comprise the following:

Hong Kong traders should take note that for each of the regulations covered in this report, the date of entry into force is the twentieth day following their publication. Furthermore, for each regulation, binding tariff information which does not conform to the harmonised classifications may continue to be invoked for a period of three months from the date of entry into force.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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