National Candle Association To Challenge CBP’s Conclusion That Wickless Wax Objects Are Not “Candles”

July 18, 2011

On May 12, 2011, U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published notice in the Federal Register of the intent of the National Candle Association (NCA) to contest CBP’s ruling on a wickless wax article. In 2009, the NCA filed a domestic manufacturer’s petition pursuant to Section 516 of the Tariff Act concerning the tariff classification of imported wickless wax objects.

These articles were identified in the entry documents as “wax cylinders,” “wax pillars,” “candle jars,” and related descriptions. The NCA had challenged CBP’s classification of these wickless wax items under subheading 9602.00.40, HTSUS, which provides for molded or carved articles of wax, at the duty rate of 1.8% ad valorem, claiming that the articles were classifiable under subheading 3406.00.00 as candles. On December 7, 2010, CBP issued a ruling which denied the request of NCA and affirmed that the wickless wax rulings are not classifiable as candles.

Section 516 is a special provision which allows U. S. domestic manufacturers, producers or wholesalers in the United States to contest with CBP the classification of a like product that they produce or wholesale. Section 516 also allows the domestic party to proceed to court if it is dissatisfied with the determination of CBP. Normally, challenging a CBP ruling in court can be done only under very limited circumstances.

In the situation in issue, the NCA claims that the wickless wax objects should be classified under the duty free provision of subheading 3406.00.00 as candles. Obviously, the goal of the NCA is not to reduce the duty. Rather, we believe that NCA’s attempt to change the classification is a precursor to an effort to have the Department of Commerce include these wickless wax articles within the scope of the antidumping order on petroleum wax candles from China. Currently, Commerce considers them to be outside the scope.

The NCA will now contact five ports at which the articles are being imported so that the port directors can notify the NCA by mail when the first of such entries is liquidated. Once this is done, the NCA will file a summons in the U. S. Court of International Trade to challenge CBP’s classification.

If there are any importers who wish to participate in a challenge to NCA’s lawsuit in the U. S. Court of International Trade, please contact Steve Spraitzar at or at (415) 288‑0427.


Stephen Spraitzar is an attorney with the Law Offices of George R. Tuttle in San Francisco.

The information in this article is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship with respect to any event or occurrence, and may not be considered as such.

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