In ruling NY N321794 (October 14, 2021), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the tariff classification of an ultrasonic and UV sanitizer from China. The item, described as an ultrasonic cleaner with wireless charging sanitizer, is rectangular in nature and measures approximately 7 inches long by 7 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep. Within the item’s waterproof reservoir, located inside, are two UV-C LED lights designed to sanitize any article that is placed within. The unit also contains ultrasound technology to allow for ultrasonic sterilization of items. The top of the unit has a wireless charger that allows users to charge personal electronic devices – such as cell phones. When in use, the desired article to be sanitized is placed within the reservoir machine. The user may then select from the control panel whether they’d like to clean the item or sanitize it through ultrasonic or UV means. If the ultrasonic option is chosen, the unit is filled with water and the ultrasonic technology will agitate the water, cleaning the item. If the UV option is chosen, the article is bombarded with UV light, which destroys virtually all microorganisms.

In considering the classification of the item, CBP noted that it considered the subject sanitizer a composite good representing functions that are covered by multiple headings within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). As such, CBP derived its classification from the rules set forth by General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(b) and 3(c). GRI 3(b) states that “composite goods are classified as if they are comprised of the function that provides the finished product its essential character.” CBP determined that the ultrasonic cleaning function, UV cleaning function, and charging function do not provide the essential character of the good as they’re all of equal importance to end users. As such, CBP turned to GRI 3(c), which states that “goods are classified by the heading that falls last in numerical order.” The headings for the ultrasonic cleaning function, charging function, and UV function are 8479, 8504, and 8543, respectively.

Thus, for its determination, CBP concluded that the applicable subheading for the ultrasonic and UV sanitizer is 8543.70.9960, HTSUS, which provides for “Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; Other machines and apparatus; …Other.”  The general rate of duty is 2.6% ad valorem.

Additionally, pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, Chinese products under subheading 8543.70.9960, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25% ad valorem duty rate. As such, the chapter subheading 9903.88.02 must be reported in addition to subheading 8543.70.9960, HTSUS.