Tariff Classification Advance Ruling
EnerPlex Surfr Solar Battery cases


Mr Troy Fargey
Hitfar Concepts Ltd.
108-2999 Underhill Avenue
Burnaby, BC V5A 3C2

Date of issuance of ruling:

This is in response to a request submitted on your behalf by GHY for an advance ruling on the tariff classification of EnerPlex Surfr Solar Battery cases. This product is manufactured by Ascent Solar, Thorton, Co, USA.

TRS Number: 277116
Classification Number: 8504.40.90.91
Effective Date:

Product Description

The good at issue is the EnerPlex Black/Black Surfr Solar battery case for the iPhone 5/5S/SE/6/6S. This is a composite good. The product is a rubberized protective case for the aforementioned iPhone models with a built in 2000 mAh (iPhone 5/5s/SE)/2700 mAh (iPhone 6/6s) lithium-ion battery used to provide external power to the device. The battery can be charged via an AC wall outlet using a conventional wall charger or using the built in solar panel on the case. The ability to charge the built in battery pack via the solar panel is an auxiliary or emergency feature. The good does not come with any wall adapter and it is recommended to use the adapter that comes with the electronic device to which the product is being used to provide extra battery power.

The iPhone is plugged into the micro USB input built into the protective case which then transfers that current to the iPhone. The battery holds direct current (DC) and transfers out DC so there is no conversion of electrical energy within that exchange. This device is capable of converting the voltage of the current to make it useable by the device. The solar panel outputs between 5-7V and the battery requires approximately 3.7V. There is a battery charging circuit in the phone case to charge the battery from the solar panel. The phone case also has a voltage regulator that takes the battery voltage and boosts it to the 5V USB voltage needed by the phone.

The battery pack can be charged with the iPhone in the case or without the iPhone in the case. However, if the iPhone requires charging, the current will go to the iPhone first and only to the battery pack after the iPhone is fully charged. It is not recommended to have the iPhone in the case when using the solar panel to charge the battery pack under direct sunlight, as the heat may damage the iPhone. A fully charged battery pack will provide the phone with at least an additional full charge worth of power.

Analysis and Justification

Based on the description, the goods can be classified in heading 42.02, as cases (containers), and in heading 85.04, as electrical static converters (as they are capable of converting direct current to a different voltage). As a result, General Interpretative Rule (GIR) 1 cannot be used to classify the goods. GIR 2 also cannot resolve the classification. As the goods are prima facie classifiable under two different headings, classification is determined by General Interpretative Rule (GIR) 3. GIR 3(a) cannot be applied because neither heading is more specific than the other. Furthermore, GIR 3(b) cannot be applied because it is not possible to determine whether it is the case (container) or the electrical static converter feature which provide the essential character of the goods. As the goods cannot be classified by application of GIRs 3(a) or 3 (b), classification is determined by GIR 3(c), which directs that goods shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. In this instance, both headings 42.02 and 85.04 equally merit consideration.


Section 10 of the Customs Tariff directs that classification of imported goods shall be determined in accordance with the General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System. Section 11 of the Customs Tariff states that in interpreting the headings and subheadings, regard shall be had to the World Customs Organization's (WCO) Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.

General Interpretative Rule 1 (GIR 1) directs that titles of Sections, Chapters and sub-Chapters are provided for ease of reference only. For legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the heading and any relative Section and Chapter Notes. Similarly, General Interpretative Rule 6 (GIR 6) directs that classification shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related Subheading Notes.

The EnerPlex Surfr Solar Battery cases for iPhones (5/5S/SE/6/6S) are classified in 8504.40.90.91 by application of GIRs 1, 3(c) and 6.

Legislative/Administrative References

This ruling has been issued under paragraph 43.1(1)(c) of the Customs Act and will be honoured by the CBSA for future importations of the goods specified, provided the material facts and circumstances remain as originally presented; all conditions in the ruling have been met; the ruling has not been modified, revoked, revised, or cancelled; and the Customs Tariff legislation has not changed. Should there be a change in the material facts or circumstances pertaining to the goods, you must notify the CBSA as soon as possible. You may request that the advance ruling be modified or revoked as of the date of the change.

Importers should quote the advance ruling number at the time of importation in either the description field of the B3 entry document or on the Canada Customs Invoice. Exporters or producers should quote the advance ruling number on the Certificate of Origin or commercial invoice accompanying the goods.

Should you disagree with this advance ruling, you may file a dispute notice under subsection 60(2) of the Customs Act within 90 days of the date of issuance. Please see the procedures outlined in Appendix C of the CBSA’s Memorandum D11-11-3, Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification.

This advance ruling is considered “reason to believe” for the purposes of section 32.2 of the Customs Act and as described in Memorandum D22-1-1, Administrative Monetary Penalty System.

All D-Memoranda referenced in this letter may be accessed on the CBSA website.

Consent to the Public Release of the Advance Ruling

As per your consent statement, we will release this advance ruling to the public, in both official languages, in accordance with the procedures described in Memorandum D11-11-3.

CBSA Contact

Grant Tebbutt
Manager, Tariff Policy Unit ‘A’
Trade Policy Division
Headquarters, Ottawa

File Number


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