Monday, January 15, 2018

CARE LABELING RULE Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request

On January 16, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission published in the Federal Register (83 FR 2156) Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request

The Care Labeling Rule requires manufacturers and importers to attach a permanent care label to all covered textile clothing in order to assist consumers in making purchase decisions and in determining what method to use to clean their apparel. Also, manufacturers and importers of piece goods used to make textile clothing must provide the same care information on the end of each bolt or roll of fabric.

Estimated annual hours burden: 32,600,587 hours (solely relating to disclosure).

Staff estimates that approximately 10,744 manufacturers or importers of textile apparel, producing about 18.4 billion textile garments annually, are subject to the Rule's disclosure requirements. The burden of developing proper care instructions may vary greatly among firms, primarily based on the number of different lines of textile garments introduced per year that require new or revised care instructions. Staff estimates the burden of determining care instructions to be 100 hours each year per firm, for a cumulative total of 1,074,400 hours. Staff further estimates that the burden of drafting and ordering labels is 80 hours each year per firm, for a total of 859,520 hours. Staff believes that the process of attaching labels is fully automated and integrated into other production steps for about 40 percent of the approximately 18.4 billion garments that are required to have care instructions on permanent labels. For the remaining 11.04 billion items (60 percent of 18.4 billion), the process is semi-automated and requires an average of approximately ten seconds per item, for a total of 30,666,667 hours per year. Thus, the total estimated annual burden for all firms is 32,600,587 hours (1,074,400 hours to determine care instructions + 859,520 hours to draft and order labels + 30,666,666 hours to attach labels).

Estimated annual cost burden: $214,221,229 (solely relating to labor costs).

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 19, 2018.

WOOL RULES: Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request.

On January 16, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission published in the Federal Register (83 FR 2154) Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request.

The Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939 ("Wool Act") prohibits the misbranding of wool products. The Wool Rules establish disclosure requirements that assist consumers in making informed purchasing decisions and recordkeeping requirements that assist the Commission in enforcing the Rules.

Estimated Annual Hours Burden: 1,880,000 hours (160,000 recordkeeping hours + 1,720,000 disclosure hours). Recordkeeping: Staff estimates that approximately 4,000 wool firms are subject to the Wool Rules’ recordkeeping requirements. Based on an average annual burden of 40 hours per firm, the total recordkeeping burden is 160,000 hours.

Disclosure: Approximately 8,000 wool firms, producing or importing about 600,000,000 wool products annually, are subject to the Wool Rules’ disclosure requirements. Staff estimates the burden of determining label content to be 30 hours per year per firm, or a total of 240,000 hours, and the burden of drafting and ordering labels to be 60 hours per firm per year, or a total of 480,000 hours. Staff believes that the process of attaching labels is now fully automated and integrated into other production steps for about 40 percent of all affected products. For the remaining 360,000,000 items (60 percent of 600,000,000), the process is semiautomated and requires an average of approximately ten seconds per item, for a total of 1,000,000 hours per year. Thus, the total estimated annual burden for all firms is 1,720,000 hours (240,000 hours for determining label content + 480,000 hours to draft and order labels + 1,000,000 hours to attach labels). Staff believes that any additional burden associated with advertising disclosure requirements would be minimal (less than 10,000 hours) and can be subsumed within the burden estimates set forth above.

Estimated Annual Cost Burden: $16,380,000, rounded to the nearest thousand (solely relating to labor costs)

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 19, 2018.

Friday, January 12, 2018

2017 Notorious Markets List Spotlights Global Piracy and Counterfeiting, Defends American Products and Workers

On January 12, 2018, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced the findings of the 2017 Special 301 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets, also known as the Notorious Markets List (List). The List highlights 25 online markets and 18 physical markets around the world that are reported to be engaging in and facilitating substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.

This activity harms the American economy by undermining the innovation and intellectual property rights (IPR) of U.S. owners of IPR in foreign markets. Imports in counterfeit and pirated physical products is estimated at nearly half a trillion dollars, or around 2.5% of global imports.

The 2017 Notorious Markets List maintains its special focus on the distribution of pirated content and counterfeit goods online. This year, the report highlights illicit streaming devices as an emerging piracy model of growing concern. The report also calls on several e-commerce platforms to improve takedown procedures, proactive measures, and cooperation with right holders—particularly small and medium-sized businesses—to decrease the volume and prevalence of counterfeit and pirated goods on their platforms.

Over the past year, some market owners and operators have made efforts to address the widespread availability of pirated or counterfeit goods in their markets. Some governments also continue to institute novel strategies to combat piracy and counterfeiting. These strategies include: voluntary initiatives with advertising networks to cut off financial support for websites devoted to copyright infringement; installing intellectual property enforcement centers on-location in high-priority physical markets; and using skills training to reorient former counterfeit sellers towards operating legitimate businesses. At the same time, we vigilantly monitor marketplaces with a record of piracy and counterfeit goods.

USTR first identified notorious markets in the Special 301 Report in 2006. Since February 2011, USTR has published annually the Notorious Markets List separately from the Special 301 Report, pursuant to an “Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets,” to increase public awareness and help market operators and governments prioritize IPR enforcement efforts that protect American businesses and their workers.

The Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets identifies particularly notable online and physical markets that facilitate unfair competition with U.S. products. The report does not constitute an exhaustive list of all markets reported to deal in pirated or counterfeit goods around the world, nor does it reflect findings of legal violations or the U.S. Government’s analysis of the general IPR protection and enforcement climate in the country concerned. Such analysis is contained in the annual Special 301 Report issued at the end of April each year.

FTZ Board Re-Opens Comment Period in Polypropylene Yarn Case

On January 12, 2018 the Foreign Trade Zone Board published in the Federal Register (83 FR 1608) Foreign-Trade Zone 186--Waterville, Maine; Application for Production Authority; Flemish Master Weavers; Subzone 186A; Invitation for Public Comment on Additional Information

The FTZ Board is inviting public comment on a new submission by the City of Waterville, Maine, grantee of FTZ 186, containing additional information pertaining to the production application of Flemish Master Weavers (FMW). The application, which was subject to a public comment period through August 7, 2017, requests unrestricted authority for FMW to produce machine-made woven area rugs from foreign-status continuous filament polypropylene yarn within Subzone 186A at the FMW facility in Sanford, Maine. The new submission on which the FTZ Board is now inviting public comment includes additional information concerning the supply of domestically-produced continuous filament polypropylene yarn and additional HTSUS Subheadings to describe that yarn.

Public comment is invited from interested parties. The closing period for their receipt is February 12, 2018.

Clients of Agathon Associates and subscribers to Agathon Associates' Trade Advisor Service can find the full history of the FMS filing at www.agathonassociates.com/textile-pri/ftz/2017-28-B.htm. You will need to enter your username and password. If you do not know your username and password email David Trumbull at david@agathonassociates.com.

Army Coat Contract Awarded

American Apparel Inc., Selma, Alabama, has been awarded a maximum $71,056,800 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Army combat uniform coats. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. Maximum dollar amount is for the life of the contract. This was a competitive acquisition with 13 responses received. Location of performance is Alabama, with a Jan. 10, 2023, performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2018 through 2023 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-18-D-1020).

Thursday, January 11, 2018

James (Jim) C. Leonard III, 1939 - 2018

James (Jim) C. Leonard III passed away on December 25 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

Jim was born May 24, 1939 in Winston-Salem to James C. Leonard, Jr. and Ruby Hodges Leonard. He graduated from James A. Gray High School in 1957 and from NC State University in 1961. Upon graduation from NCSU, he was commissioned an officer in the Army Signal Corps. Jim and another lieutenant were selected to lead the advanced party to Thailand to work with and train the Thai army on the use of long-range communication equipment. After a year in Thailand, Jim rotated back to Fort Gordon and was released from the Army. He worked a year in the Washington, DC area before going back to graduate school at NCSU.

He graduated from NCSU with a master's degree in mathematics and accepted a position with Burlington Industries in Greensboro, NC. Jim worked for Burlington for 34 years in various positions and rose to be the manager of economic analysis and manager of Burlington's lobbying office in Washington, DC. For about 20 of those years, Jim was an advisor to the US Government, dealing with textile/apparel trade agreements with many foreign countries.

In 2001, Jim was asked to come to Washington as a government employee to run the committee he had been an advisor to for 20 years. He was then nominated by President George W. Bush to be deputy assistant secretary of commerce, having responsibility for textiles/apparel and all consumer goods. His last year in Washington, Jim was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal in a very favorable article with his level of responsibility at the US Department of Commerce. Jim felt his time in Washington made a difference.

After he returned home, he consulted for the College of Textiles at NCSU and the NC Department of Commerce. Jim was known as a "credible" person with only a hand shake needed to close a deal. He returned to NC at the birth of his first grandson. Family was so important to him that he did not want to miss a moment in the life of grandchildren.

He was active in his church. He especially enjoyed being a Stephen minister and was closely involved with several care receivers in recent years.

His great joy in later life was being able to visit and care for his two grandsons. Until the grandsons reached school age, he helped to provide daycare one day every week. His great sorrow was not being able to see them grow-up. His great hope was that he and CeCe have instilled in their two sons, as their parents instilled in their children, Christian values that will lead them through life.

Jim is survived by his wonderful wife of 50 years, Cecelia Fulmer Leonard; sons James IV (Courtney) of Raleigh and John (Caitlyn) of Raleigh; and grandsons James V and Benjamin; brothers Ralph (Lib) Leonard of Mocksville, Donald (Joanna) Leonard of Winston-Salem; sister Carol (Calvin) Cobb of Houston, Texas.

A memorial service will be at Jamestown United Methodist Church, 403 East Main Street, Jamestown, NC 27282 on January 13 at 11 a.m. The family will receive family and friends in the Fellowship Hall after the service. Memorials can be made to Jamestown United Methodist Church for the music program or Building a Firm Foundation; Hospice Home at Highpoint, 1803 Westchester Drive, High Point, NC 27262; or Jamestown Historical Society, 603 W. Main Street, Jamestown, NC 27282. (Affordable Cremations of Winston-Salem).

Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the U.S.A.

Monday, January 15th, U.S. government offices, and much of private business other than retail, will close in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

When President Ronald Reagan, on November 2, 1983, signed into law the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday he reminded his listeners that—

Martin Luther King was born in 1929 in an America where, because of the color of their skin, nearly one in ten lived lives that were separate and unequal…taught in segregated schools…could find only poor jobs, toiling for low wages…refused entry into hotels and restaurants, made to use separate facilities. In a nation that proclaimed liberty and justice for all, too many black Americans were living with neither.

If we consider the time from the arrival of the first slaves in the Virginia Colony in 1619 to the achievement of full civil rights for all African-Americans in every one of the 50 states in the 1960s, it was a very long struggle to achieve full civil equality. The modern African-American Civil Rights Movement that Dr. King was so important a leader in, on the other hand, was, for a major societal and legal change, relatively swift. It is generally considered to occupy the period from 1955 (Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott) to 1968 (King assassination and the Poor People's March). To those in the struggle it was long. But looking back, from 1955 to 1983, not quite 30 years, is, roughly, a generation. In one generation we advanced from a nation that tolerated legal discrimination against part of our citizenry based on the color of their skin, to a nation in which such as thing is not only forbidden, but absolutely unthinkable. It was Dr. King, more than any other single leader in the civil rights movement, who, with his insistence on non-violence, and his prophet-like call to the conscience of White American, who brought about such a marvelous and much needed change. That is why he is up there with Columbus and Washington as one of just three men who so influenced our nation that we honor them with a federal holiday.

President Reagan went on to remark that "Dr. King had awakened something strong and true, a sense that true justice must be colorblind." And Mr. Reagan pointed to both the progress made—and yet to be made—in the struggle for an America that lives up to her noble sentiment that all men are created equal, citing the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. Reagan, as he so often did, then called on Americans to embrace and enlarge upon their better nature, and exhorted his listeners—

But most important, there was not just a change of law; there was a change of heart. The conscience of America had been touched. Across the land, people had begun to treat each other not as blacks and whites, but as fellow Americans.

Traces of bigotry still mar America. So, each year on Martin Luther King Day, let us not only recall Dr. King, but rededicate ourselves to the Commandments he believed in and sought to live every day: Thou shall love thy God with all thy heart, and thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. And I just have to believe that all of us —- if all of us, young and old, Republicans and Democrats, do all we can to live up to those Commandments, then we will see the day when Dr. King's dream comes true.