In ruling NY N314519 (September 28, 2020), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the classification of a product identified as the HoHoHoH2o Automatic Christmas Tree Watering Device. The HoHoHoH2o is composed of a 2.5-gallon tank, water pump, water tube and water level sensors. The 2.5-gallon water tank houses the water pump, floating level sensor and a circuit board. The tank, which resembles a wrapped giftbox, measures 13.5 x 10.4 x 9.5 inches and is placed under the tree in use. As described in the ruling, the tank’s water tube is placed into the tree stand along with the tree stand sensor. The tree stand sensor monitors the water level by opening and closing a circuit via wires attached to the circuit board.  When the sensor detects the water is low, it opens a circuit that triggers the pump in the tank to deliver water to the stand through the attached water tube.  Once the proper water level is reached, the circuit closes and signals to turn off the water pump.  When the water tank itself is running low on water, a floater switch inside the tank sends a signal to trigger a sound and light alarm to notify the user to refill the tank with water.

The ruling states that CBP believes the HoHoHoH2o is a composite good within the meaning of GRI 3. Goods classifiable under GRI 3(b) shall be classified as if they consisted of a material or component which gives them their essential character. GRI 3(c) states that when the essential character of a composite good cannot be determined, classification is based on the heading that occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. CBP believes that the pump in heading 8413, HTSUS, merits equal consideration to the sensors which measure and check the water level in heading 9026, HTSUS.

CBP determined that the applicable subheading for the HoHoHoH2o Automatic Christmas Tree Watering Device will be 9026.10.6000, HTSUS, which provides for “Instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking the flow, level, pressure or other variables of liquids or gases (for example, flow meters, level gauges, manometers, heat meters), excluding instruments and apparatus of heading 9014, 9015, 9028 or 9032; parts and accessories thereof: For measuring or checking the flow or level of liquids: Other: Other.”  The rate of duty will be free.

Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 9026.10.6000, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 7.5 percent ad valorem rate of duty.  At the time of importation, the Chapter 99 subheading, 9903.88.15, in addition to subheading 9026.10.6000, HTSUS, must be reported.