Thursday, September 16, 2021

U.S. & Ukrainian Leaders Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Commercial Cooperation

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met with Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Oleksiy Lyubchenko in Washington, DC to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining areas of renewed cooperation on trade.

The MOU also notes U.S. support for Ukrainian efforts to improve its business and investment climate, which could help to increase U.S.-Ukraine commercial ties. The specific measures include intensifying Ukraine’s fight against corruption, increasing the effectiveness and independence of the court system, strengthening intellectual property rights protections, and implementing corporate governance reforms.

Read more HERE.

Registration is Open for the Indo-Pacific Business Forum 2021

The United States government, in partnership with the Government of India, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the US-ASEAN Business Council, the U.S.-India Business Council, and the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, is pleased to announce registration is now open for the fourth annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF). This year’s IPBF will be a fully virtual event held from October 28-29, 2021, with a schedule that will ensure participants from across the Indo-Pacific can join.

The IPBF advances a vision for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, and inclusive. Government and business leaders from the United States, India, and across the Indo-Pacific region will exchange ideas through interactive discussions based on three broad themes: economic recovery and resilience; climate action; and digital innovation. Attendees will also be able to explore regional government and business partnerships and commercial opportunities. The IPBF will showcase high-impact private sector investment and government efforts to support market competition, job growth, and high-standard development for greater prosperity and economic inclusion in the Indo-Pacific. The event will be conducted via a secure online conferencing platform.

For more information or to register CLICK HERE.

AATCC Announces 2022 C2C Student Design Competition

This year’s theme asks students to design a sustainable travel wear line that incorporates recycled materials, sustainable manufacturing, and antibacterial and/or odor-control properties. Entries are due April 5, 2022.

Read more or submit HERE.

CBP Modifies Forced Labor Finding on Top Glove Corporation Bhd.

On September 9, 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that it has modified the forced labor Finding on Top Glove Corporation Bhd. Effective immediately, CBP will permit the importation of disposable gloves made at Top Glove facilities in Malaysia.

“CBP modified a Finding after thoroughly reviewing evidence that Top Glove has addressed all indicators of forced labor identified at its Malaysian facilities,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller. “Top Glove’s actions in response to the Withhold Release Order, which include issuing more than $30 million in remediation payments to workers and improving labor and living conditions at the company’s facilities, suggest that CBP’s enforcement efforts provide a strong economic incentive for entities to eliminate forced labor from their supply chains.”

Read more HERE.

FTC Opens Rulemaking Petition Process, Promoting Public Participation and Accountability

At an open Commission meeting today, the Federal Trade Commission voted to make significant changes to enhance public participation the agency’s rulemaking, a significant step to increase public participation and accountability around the work of the FTC.

On September 15, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission approved a series of changes to the FTC’s Rules of Practice designed to make it easier for members of the public to petition the agency for new rules or changes to existing rules that are administered by the FTC. The changes are a key part of the work of opening the FTC’s regulatory processes to public input and scrutiny. This is a departure from the previous practice, under which the Commission had no obligation to respond to or otherwise address petitions for agency action.

“Guarding against insularity is a constant challenge for virtually all federal agencies, and ensuring that the FTC is accessible even to those who lack well-heeled counsel or personal connections is essential to our institutional credibility,” said Chair Lina M. Khan. “Congress granted the FTC the power to issue rules, equipping us with a vital tool to protect the public from harmful business practices. Interested members of the public will be able to petition the FTC to invoke its rulemaking and other authorities to advance its mission.” 

The updates to the Rules of Practice make a number of changes designed to clarify the process of submitting petitions to the FTC while also adding more opportunities for public input and accountability in the Commission’s response to the petitions it receives.

Among the changes are:

  • More clarity for those seeking to file petitions related to rulemaking with regard to information that is required with submissions, as well as guidance on the data that can be helpful to the Commission in evaluation petitions.
  • A new requirement that the Commission publish all petitions for rulemaking that it receives in the Federal Register and solicit public comment about those petitions.
  • A new requirement that the Commission provide petitioners with a specific point of contact in the agency, and that the Commission provide a response to petitioners on its decision to either act on or deny the petition.

In addition to formal rulemaking, the new changes will also apply to requests by certain parties for special exemption from FTC rules, as well as petitions related to industry guidance issued by the Commission.

Read more HERE.

Standard for the Flammability of Residential Upholstered Furniture

On September 16, 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission published in the Federal Register (86 FR 51639) Standard for the Flammability of Residential Upholstered Furniture; Termination of Rulemaking.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is withdrawing its proposed rule on flammability standards for residential upholstered furniture that were published March 4, 2008 in the Federal Register. This rulemaking is no longer active because it has been superseded by the COVID–19 Regulatory Relief and Work From Home Safety Act.

On December 27, 2020, the "COVID–19 Regulatory Relief and Work From Home Safety Act," became law. Public Law 116–260. Section 2101(c) of the COVID–19 Act mandated that, 180 days after the date of enactment of the COVID–19 Act, the standard for upholstered furniture set forth by the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation of the Department of Consumer Affairs of the State of California in Technical Bulletin (TB) 117–2013 (TB 117–2013), entitled, "Requirements, Test Procedure and Apparatus for Testing the Smolder Resistance of Materials Used in Upholstered Furniture," published June 2013, "shall be considered to be a flammability standard promulgated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under section 4 of the Flammable Fabrics Act (15 U.S.C. 1193)."

Navy, Army and Air Force Clothing Contract Awarded

M&M Manufacturing, Lajas, Puerto Rico, has been awarded a maximum $9,218,125 modification (P00021) exercising the second one-year option period of an 18-month base contract (SPE1C1-19-D-1145) with three one-year option periods for various types of blouses and coats. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Puerto Rico, with a Sept. 19, 2022, ordering period end date. Using military services are Navy, Army and Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2021 through 2022 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.