HTSUS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States) classifications can be straightforward or not, as these two examples illustrate:
9033.00.2000 Light-emitting diode (LED) backlights modules, the foregoing which are lighting sources that consist of one or more LEDs and one or more connectors and are mounted on a printed circuit or other similar substrate, and other passive components, whether or not combined with optical components or protective diodes, and used as backlights illumination for liquid crystal displays (LCDs)
A detailed classification includes HTS lookup, checking both chapter notes and GRI (General Rules of Interpretation), reviewing specs and/or other literature, and searching CROSS (Customs Rulings Online Search System). This is the procedural aspect of classification, but there is more. Most commodities require interpretation of the tariff language based on experience. In many cases subject matter experts need to be consulted. Finally, the process needs to be documented for future reference and parts lists updated.
I sometimes recommend a binding ruling to ensure accuracy in entries. Binding rulings provide uniformity across all ports of entry, and protect the importer from variations in interpretation from current and future CBP personnel. Rulings can be requested on valuation and country of origin as well as classification. The downside to obtaining a ruling is that you must follow it or be subject to penalties, although rulings can be appealed.
Rulings can be requested using the link shown here:
For help with binding rulings contact firstname.lastname@example.org.