Friday, August 30, 2013

North America Consumer Product Safety Summit Sept. 10-11

This Summit in Ottawa, Canada, which builds on work initiated at the 2011 Summit in Bethesda, Maryland, will contribute to strengthening overall trilateral relations between Canada, the United States and Mexico on consumer products through increased engagement of officials and will be an opportunity for stakeholders and regulators to learn about consumer product safety activities and best practices in North America.

For more information click here

Tuesday, September 3rd Deadline to Sign Up for FTC Care Labeling Roundtable

As part of the Federal Trade Commission’s systematic review of all current FTC rules and guides, the FTC will host a public roundtable in Washington, D.C., to analyze proposed changes to its Care Labeling Rule. The roundtable will be held on October 1, 2013, from 9:15 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. in the FTC’s Satellite Building Conference Center at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Requests to participate as a panelist must be received by September 3, 2013.

Respect the Working Man and Woman by Preserving Their Jobs

As I sit in a comfortable chair in my air-conditioned office today the outdoor temperature is expected to reach 80. As my fingers move across the keyboard the overhead light reflects off my freshly manicured nails and the cuff links in my soft clean white shirt. As I think of my relative comfort I remember that I enjoy ease because other men and women are out in the heat and sun doing dirty backbreaking work. And that is why we set aside the first Monday in September as Labor Day.

Of course, Labor Day honors all workers, not only those who do manual labor. But it is good to remind ourselves from time to time of the necessity of manual labor. Ordinary Americans today enjoy necessities of life, security, and even luxuries the envy of princes in an earlier age. The bright, hardworking, and daring men and women of Wall Street and other financial markets created new and innovative ways to maximize wealth and gave us the most prosperous society the world has known, and one in which wealth, has been distributed more widely than ever before. In sum, our financial markets—at least when left alone—do a bully job of managing wealth. But they do not create wealth. Ultimately you have to make it (manufacturing), mine it (digging or drilling), or grow it (agriculture). Someone has to build houses for the economic indicators to register an increase in housing starts. Some has to drill if we are to have the oil to fuel our economy. Someone has to hoe and weed to keep Whole Foods (whole-paycheck we call it my house) stocked with the organic fruit and vegetables we love to consume.

American policy for 25 years or more has been to maximize imports and pay for them with credit. We import oil from the Near and Middle-East rather than drill our own abundant supplies. We have some of the largest tracks of fertile land, yet we import food from sources so dubious that many of us do not consume raw vegetables unless we can ascertain their origin. And as for manufacturing—just go into Walmart and try to find something—anything—made in the U.S.A.

Politicians in Washington will talk much this Labor Day weekend about the dignity of the workingmen and women of America, but the policies they enact tell a different tale. President Obama is pushing congress to approve new free trade agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The people at Boston-based New Balance, one of the few remaining companies to make shoes in the U.S.A., is gravely concerned that, if this deal goes through, more U.S. jobs will be lost, to a nation that does not honor labor, but rather subjects their workers to unsafe and unhealthy conditions and low pay.

You do not respect the dignity of the workingman or woman by destroying his job.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Certain Polyester/Nylon Corduroy Added to DR-CAFTA Short Supply List

The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements ("CITA") has determined that certain polyester/nylon cut corduroy fabric, as specified below, is not available in commercial quantities in a timely manner in the CAFTA-DR countries. The product will be added to the list in Annex 3.25 of the CAFTA-DR Agreement in unrestricted quantities.

DATES: Effective August 27, 2013.

On July 25, the Chairman of CITA received a request for a Commercial Availability determination ("Request") from Alston & Bird, LLP on behalf of SPC Global, LLC, for certain polyester/nylon cut corduroy fabric, as specified below. No interested entity submitted a Response to the Request advising CITA of its objection to the Request and its ability to supply the subject product.

Specifications: Certain Polyester/Nylon Cut Corduroy Fabric.

HTS: 5801.32.0000.

Fiber Content: 80-95% polyester, 5-20% nylon.

Yarn Size:
Warp: Polyester filament between 111-222 decitex (English: 100-200 denier).
Fill: Polyester filament 111-278 decitex (English: 100-250 denier) and bi-constituent polyester-nylon filament between 222-389 decitex (English: 200-350 denier).

NOTE 1: In the bi-constituent yarn, the polyester and nylon are mixed prior to extrusion.

NOTE 2: The yarn size designations describe a range of specifications for yarn in its greige condition. They are intended as specifications to be followed by the mill in sourcing yarn used to produce the fabric. Weaving, dyeing, and finishing can alter the characteristics of the yarn as it appears in the finished fabric. This specification therefore includes yarns appearing in the finished fabric as finer or coarser than the designated yarn sizes provided that the variation occurs after processing of the greige yarn and production of the fabric.

Thread count: 20-34 warp ends x 50-67 fill picks per centimeter (English: 50-86 warp ends x 127-170 fill picks per inch).

Weight: 220-290 grams per sq. meter (English: 6.48-8.55 oz per sq. yard).

Width: 142-162 cm (English: 56-64 inches).

Weave: Cut corduroy with 3-6 wales per cm (English: 8-16 wales per inch).

Finishing: Piece dyed or of yarns of different colors.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Official to Meet with Austrian Man Made Fibers Institute

Shivani Mehta, of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC") Directorate for Engineering Sciences, will be meeting with Austrian Man Made Fibers Institute to give presentation on textile related activities at CPSC in Dornbirn, Austria on September 11th through 13th.

$1.5 Million in Counterfeit Goods Seized from Puerto Rican Flea Market

U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") officers and import specialists supported special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's ("ICE") Homeland Security Investigations ("HSI"), in seizing approximately $1.5 million in counterfeit and pirated merchandise as part of Operation Forged Dreams. The operation took place Sunday with assistance from CBP, the Puerto Rico Department of Health's Office of Investigations, the Puerto Rico Police Department and the Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs.

During the operation, HSI special agents and partner law enforcement officers targeted 23 retailers of counterfeit and pirated goods at the Arecibo flea market. They seized 10,000 CDs, 50,000 DVDs, 565 watches, 368 video games, 220 pieces of jewelry, 1,161 sunglasses and 204 handbags, among other items, infringing on the trademark of Gucci, Michael Kors, Microsoft, Nintendo, Casio, Ray Ban, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Oakley, Nike, Adidas, Tous, NBA and Pandora. The total manufacturer's suggested retail value (MSRP) of the seized goods is approximately $1.5 million.

This is the fifth seizure of counterfeit and pirated goods by HSI San Juan in the last 11 months. During a four-day operation in February, HSI special agents and their partners targeted 15 retailers of counterfeit goods at prominent locations in the Puerto Rican municipalities of Carolina, Toa Baja, Caguas, Bayamon, Guaynabo and San Juan. The seized items included counterfeit designer clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, handbags, sunglasses and sportswear with an MSRP of $4,788,032. During a two-day operation in December 2012, HSI special agents and their partners targeted 17 retailers of counterfeit goods in the municipalities of Bayamon, Caguas, Canovanas, Ponce and San Juan. They seized 4,749 counterfeit items infringing on the trademark of more than 38 brands. The total MSRP of the seized goods was approximately $2 million. In September 2012, HSI special agents seized more than $18 million in counterfeit contact lenses and other merchandise during the execution of several search warrants in eight municipalities.

Operation Forged Dreams is an HSI San Juan initiative intended to bring a multi-agency and industry united front against individuals and organizations exploiting trade and financial systems by importing, exporting, selling, storing, manufacturing or otherwise handling counterfeit and pirated goods that may present a hazard to public health and safety.

During fiscal year 2012, CBP officers conducted more than 136 seizures related Intellectual Property Rights violations, with a domestic value of approximately $2 million.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


DATES: NOVEMBER 19-22, 2013

LOCATION: Paris Expo, Paris Nord Villepinte- Pavilion 1

SHOW DESCRIPTION: Milipol Paris, since its creation in 1984, has been the world’s premier security and law enforcement show. Under one venue, the exhibition houses displays of the latest advances in security and law enforcement technology including arms, ammunition, protective equipment, electronics, uniforms, mobility IT, and protection from major risks including environmental, climatic, seismic, industrial and CBRN. The U.S. Department of Commerce, OTEXA, in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Paris, is proud to bring you the OTEXA sample booth at Milipol Paris 2013.

VISITORS/EXHIBITORS: Over 27,000 trade visitors from 181 different countries came to see the 887 exhibitors from 47 countries at Milipol Paris 2011. In addition, 110 official delegations from 59 countries attended Millipol 2011. AMENITIES: The Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce will feature a catalog/sample booth at the show. Included in the package of services is promotion of samples, the collection of leads that will be sent to each company in a spreadsheet after the show, and the opportunity for pre-, concurrent, and post-show publicity for your company.

COST FOR THE SAMPLE BOOTH: $900 for 4-5 product samples or four book samples, company literature, and business cards. Shipment of samples to and from Milipol Paris 2013 is the responsibility of the participant.

WHY SHOULD YOU EXHIBIT/ PARTICIPATE? As the world’s leading showcase of security and law enforcement technology, Milipol Paris 2013 is the perfect opportunity for your company to gain valuable exposure to global buyers and generate substantive business leads. The U.S. DOC/OTEXA sample booth is located in the heart of the U.S. pavilion and will be exposed to the official visiting delegations as well as decision makers from around the world. Milipol Paris is the perfect global showcase for your products and services. Additional benefits of Milipol Paris 2013 include military briefings, networking with delegation attendees, a full company listing in the U.S. International Pavilion show guide, and our own hand-outs of the U.S. Sample Booth exhibitors as well as pre-, concurrent, and post-event press.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Please contact Mary Lynn Landgraf at (202) 482-7909 or or Caroline Lanford at (202) 482-3146.

To Those Doing Business in the United Kingdom

This coming Monday, August 26th, is the Late Summer Bank Holiday in the United Kingdom.

U.S. Footwear Manufacturers Respond to Importers Claim that Duty Elimination Will Not Take Away American Jobs

Earlier this week the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America ("FDRA") released a study showing that the elimination of footwear duties would not harm employment in the domestic footwear industry and that duty elimination for members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership ("TPP") trade agreement would likely result in TTP member nations' footwear industries gaining market share at the expense of countries like China that are not party to TPP. However, Marc Fleischaker, Trade Counsel for the Rubber and Plastic Footwear Manufacturers Association ("RPFMA") which represents domestic footwear manufacturers such as New Balance, Genfoot, and OnGuard Industries, collectively employing more than 4,000 Americans, strongly disagrees and has put out a press release stating that the domestic footwear manufacturing industry would not be able to survive without the import-sensitive tariffs and calling on the Obama Administration to exclude these tariffs from the negotiations with Vietnam in the TPP.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

If the Shoe Fits, It's a Shoe

Recently, in the United States Court of International Trade, Plaintiff Alpinestars S.p.A. ("Alpinestars") challenged the decision of Defendant U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("Customs") denying Alpinestars' Protest of Customs' classification of the imported Tech 8 motocross boot within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS"). Customs classified the merchandise as
"Other footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics: Other footwear: Covering the ankle: Other: Other: Other: Valued over $12/pair" under subheading 6402.91.90, HTSUS, which carries a 20% duty rate.
Plaintiff claimed that the merchandise is properly classified as
"Articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports (including table-tennis) or outdoor games, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; swimming pools and wading pools; parts and accessories thereof: Other: Other: Other" under subheading 9506.99.60 of the HTSUS, which carries a 4% duty rate.
Alternatively, Plaintiff argued that the subject merchandise is classifiable as
"Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather and uppers of leather: Other footwear: Covering the ankle: For men, youths and boys” under HTSUS subheading 6403.91.60 with a 8.5% duty rate, or as "Other footwear with outer soles and suppers of rubber or plastics: Sports footwear: Other: Other: Valued over $12/pair," under subheading 6402.19.90, HTSUS, dutiable at 9%.

The Court, following earlier court decisions that established that "sports equipment is defined as non-apparel-like merchandise that is necessary, useful, or appropriate for a sport, and if the merchandise is worn by a user, those articles are almost exclusively protective in nature and would complement, or be worn in addition to, apparel worn for a particular sport," found that--

"the Tech 8 boot is not worn to complement or be worn in addition to other apparel" and that "Clothing and footwear are the two essential items that people wear, regardless of whether one is dressing for a sport. The Tech 8 boot is exactly that, a boot. It is simply footwear and not an item used to enhance, i.e., "complement or be in addition" to apparel. Therefore, it is not sports equipment under Heading 9506.

Having determined that the Tech 8 is not classifiable under Heading 9506, the court turned to whether it is properly classifiable under footwear headings, 6403 or 6402. For that discussion and finding, read Judge Leo M. Gordon's opinion on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website by clicking here beginning on page 71.

HALO SleepSacks Wearable Blankets Recalled Due to Choking Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Babies R Us

Units: About 27,000

Description: The recalled HALO SleepSack wearable blankets are 100% white cotton with pink-edged ruffles and a pink satin rose embellishment on the front. These sack-shaped wearable blankets have cut-outs for the baby’s arms, a zipper down the center, a sewn bottom and were sold in small and medium sizes. Only SleepSack products with GPU numbers 2701, 2781, 2886, 2887, 3007, 3035 and 3142 printed on a neck label under the primary neck label are included in the recall.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received six reports of the petals detaching from the blankets including one report of an infant found gagging on a detached petal.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the wearable blankets and contact HALO Innovations for a pre-paid envelope containing instructions to remove and return the flower and order a free replacement product.

Sold exclusively at: Babies R Us and from December 2011 through July 2013 for about $25.

Importer: Halo Innovations, of Minnetonka, Minn.

Manufacturer: Jiaxing Huayan Fashion Co. Ltd, of Jiaxing Zhejiang, China

Manufactured in: China

For more information see the Consumer Product Safety Commission announcement by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Apple Park Recalls Children’s Loungewear Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard

Units: About 7,250

Description: This recall involves Apple Park children’s 96% viscose and 4% spandex two-piece sets from the Apple Park Bamboo Loungewear Collection. They were sold in children’s sizes 6 months through size 4. The sets consist of a long-sleeve shirt paired with matching full-length pants with elastic waistband. The collar, ankles and wristbands are solid-colored. The sets come in five animal character prints: pink “bunny,” blue “cubby,” white/green “ducky,” violet “lamby” and green “monkey.” "GPU CO815" is printed on sewn labels at the pants waistline and along the shirt's bottom right side seam.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the pajamas and contact Apple Park for a full refund.

Sold at: Boutiques, children’s specialty stores nationwide and online at,

Importer: Apple Park LLC, of San Francisco

Manufactured in: China

For more information see the Consumer Product Safety Commission notice by clicking here.

Children’s Pajamas Recalled by Klever Kids Due to Violation of Federal Flammability Standard

Units: About 7,000

Description: This recall involves Klever Kids children’s 100% Pima cotton pajama sets and nightgowns sold in boys and girls sizes 2 through 8. The pajama sets include two-piece long-sleeve shirt and pant sets with an elastic waistband and two-piece short-sleeve shirt and short sets with an elastic waistband. The sets were sold in multiple prints including shark print, ballerinas, black and blue skeletons, flowers, pink with white polka dot pattern, a two-toned set with navy and blue striped monster print, and paisley print with green fabric on the edge. The nightgowns are short-sleeved with a gathered shoulder hem. The nightgowns were sold in multiple prints including ballerinas, pink with white polka dots, flowers and paisleys. All the garments have a printed label at the neck that reads “KleverKids live {Heart} laugh {Heart} love.” Some of the pajamas sets are labeled as “flame resistant sleepwear” by a sewn-in garment label along the shirt's bottom right side seam.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled pajamas away from children, stop using them and return to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Sold at: Children’s boutiques and specialty stores nationwide from September 2012 through March 2013 for between $32 and $82.

Importer: Klever Kids, of Washington, D.C.

Manufactured in: Peru.

For more information and photos go to the Consumer Product Safety Commission website by clicking here.

American Textile Hall of Fame

On Monday, September 9, 2013, J. Dukes Wooters, Jr., creator and founder of Cotton Incorporated, will be inducted in the American Textile Hall of Fame at the American Textile History Musuem in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Request for Public Comments Regarding the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers

The Office of the United States Trade Representative ("USTR") is required to publish annually the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers ("NTE"), today USTR's Trade Policy Staff Committee ("TPSC") requested interested persons to submit comments to assist it in identifying significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services, and U.S. foreign direct investment for inclusion in the NTE. The TPSC invites written comments from the public on issues that USTR should examine in preparing the NTE.

DATES: Public comments are due not later than 11:59 p.m., October 22, 2013.

Topics on which the TPSC Seeks Information: To assist USTR in preparing the NTE, commenters should submit information related to one or more of the following categories of foreign trade barriers:

(1) Import policies (e.g., tariffs and other import charges, quantitative restrictions, import licensing, and customs barriers);

(2) Government procurement restrictions (e.g.,``buy national policies'' and closed bidding);

(3) Export subsidies (e.g., export financing on preferential terms and agricultural export subsidies that displace U.S. exports in third country markets);

(4) Lack of intellectual property protection (e.g., inadequate patent, copyright, and trademark regimes or enforcement issues);

(5) Services barriers (e.g., limits on the range of financial services offered by foreign financial institutions, regulation of international data flows, restrictions on the use of data processing, quotas on imports of foreign films, and barriers to the provision of services by professionals);

(6) Investment barriers (e.g., limitations on foreign equity participation and on access to foreign government-funded R&D consortia, local content, technology transfer and export performance requirements, and restrictions on repatriation of earnings, capital, fees, and royalties);

(7) Government-tolerated anticompetitive conduct of state-owned or private firms that restrict the sale or purchase of U.S. goods or services in the foreign country's markets;

(8) Trade restrictions affecting electronic commerce (e.g., tariff and non-tariff measures, burdensome and discriminatory regulations and standards, and discriminatory taxation); and

(9) Other barriers (e.g., barriers that encompass more than one category, such as bribery and corruption, or that affect a single sector).

In addition, commenters are invited to identify those barriers covered in their submissions that may operate as ``localization barriers to trade''. Localization barriers are measures designed to protect, favor, or stimulate domestic industries, services providers, and or intellectual property at the expense of goods services or intellectual property from other countries.

In responding to this notice, commenters should place particular emphasis on any practices that they believe may violate U.S. trade agreements. The TPSC is also interested in receiving new or updated information pertinent to the barriers covered in the 2013 NTE as well as information on new barriers. Even if USTR does not include in the NTE information that it receives pursuant to this notice, it will maintain the information for potential use in future discussions or negotiations with trading partners.

Estimate of Increase in Exports: Each comment should include an estimate of the potential increase in U.S. exports that would result from removing any foreign trade barrier the comment identifies, as well as a description of the methodology the commenter used to derive the estimate. Estimates should be expressed within the following value ranges: Less than $5 million; $5 to $25 million; $25 million to $50 million; $50 million to $100 million; $100 million to $500 million; or over $500 million. These estimates will help USTR conduct comparative analyses of a barrier's effect over a range of industries.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Army Combat Uniform Coat Contracts Awarded

Puerto Rico Apparel Manufacturing Corp., Mayaguez, Puerto Rico., has been awarded a maximum $15,992,977 for a one year base contract with four one-year option periods for various types of Permethrin Army Combat Uniform coats. The contract is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Puerto Rico with an Aug. 14, 2014 performance completion date. Using service is Army. Type of appropriation is Fiscal 2013 through Fiscal 2014 Defense Working Capital funds. Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-13-D-1065).

Golden Manufacturing Co., Inc., Golden, Miss., has been awarded a maximum $36,523,456 for a one year base contract with four one-year option periods for various types of Permethrin Army Combat Uniform coats. The contract is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Mississippi with an Aug. 14, 2014 performance completion date. Using service is Army. Type of appropriation is Fiscal 2013 through Fiscal 2014 Defense Working Capital funds. Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-13-D-1063).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tacking the Taxonomy of Technical Textiles

In my latest column for the BeaverLake6 Report I scratch the surface of the question, "What is a technical textile." Read the essay by clicking here.

OTEXA Reports on Top Foreign Markets for US Textiles and Apparel

Today the United States Department of Commerce Office of Textiles and Apparel ("OTEXA") released an updated version of its publication Going Global: Export Guide for Textiles and Apparel.

The Report lists the top 15 markets as determined by the largest amount of U.S. exports of textiles and apparel in U.S. dollars:

  1. Canada,
  2. Mexico,
  3. Honduras,
  4. China,
  5. Japan,
  6. Dominican Republic,
  7. United Kingdom,
  8. El Salvador,
  9. Belgium,
  10. Hong Kong,
  11. Germany,
  12. South Korea,
  13. Australia,
  14. Netherlands, and
  15. Brazil.

Fastest Growing Markets for U.S. Textiles Exports:

  1. Vietnam,
  2. Egypt,
  3. Poland,
  4. Pakistan, and
  5. Lithuania.

Fastest Growing Markets for U.S. Apparel Exports:

  1. United Kingdom,
  2. Netherlands,
  3. China,
  4. Saudi Arabia, and
  5. France.

Going Global: Export Guide for Textiles and Apparel is available on the OTEXA website by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mississippi Furniture Manufacturers Get Extension of FTZ for Micro-Denier Suede

Today the Foreign Trade Zone ("FTZ") Board announced that three Mississippi furniture manufacturers, Bauhaus USA, Inc., H.M. Richards, Inc., Lane Furniture Industries, Inc., which in December 2008 had been granted the right to import, duty-free, a limited quantity of micro-denier suede fabric, for a period of five years, have now had that privilege extended indefinitely.

In the case of Bauhaus USA, Inc. the annual volume of foreign micro-denier suede upholstery fabric finished with a caustic soda solution that may be admitted to duty-free is limited to 3.5 million square yards.

In the case of H.M. Richards, Inc., the annual volume of foreign micro-denier suede upholstery fabric finished with a caustic soda solution that may be admitted duty-free is limited to 6.5 million square yards.

In the Lane Furniture Industries, Inc., the annual volume of foreign micro-denier suede upholstery fabric finished with a caustic soda solution that may be admitted duty-free is limited to 6.5 million square yards.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Agathon Associates Comments on FTC Strategic Plan

On August 8th, David Trumbull submitted the following comments regarding the United States Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") Stragetic Plan for fiscal year 2014 through 2018.
I write on behalf of my clients who are engaged in every stage of the wool trade -- from fiber, to yarn and fabric, to apparel. The U.S. is one of the most important markets for wool and animal hair consumer products, and I applauded the Commission's activities directed toward reducing consumer fraud and unfair competition in the market for these products.

I am pleased to see that, among the Commission's three Strategic Goals, consumer protection is listed first. I am also pleased to see, listed as objectives under that Strategic Goal, the Commission's Strategic Plan: (1) "Identify and take actions to address deceptive or unfair practices that harm consumers" and (2) "Provide the public with knowledge and tools to prevent harm to consumers."

In particular, I direct the Commission's attention to the task, currently being undertaken by the Commission, of revising the Rules and Regulations Under the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939 (File No. P124201) to address the amendments made by the Wool Suit Fabric Labeling Fairness and International Standards Conforming Act. The amendments went into effect in 2007 and the trade is anxious to see the revised Rules and the Commission's responses to industry's specific suggestions for implementing the amendments. In addition, I have recently been alerted to the pervasive mislabeling of wool felt hats in violation of the Wool Products Labeling Act and shall be submitting, under separate cover, a report to the Commission on this problem, which is harming consumers and honest retailers and is a source of unfair competition for producers of properly labeled felt hats.

I also look forward to the finalizing of the revisions to the Rules and Regulations Under the Textile Fiber Product Identification Act and am pleased to see that the suggestions made in joint industry comments have been, largely, adopted in the proposed Rule.

Comments are due by August 16th. For more information or to see the Stragetic Plan, visit the FTC website by clicking here.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

U.S. Lifts Ban on Imports from Burma

Wednesday, in light of the July 28 expiration of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act's ("BFDA") ban on imports from Burma, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order that repeals the provisions of Executive Order 13310 that implemented the broad BFDA import ban on products of Burma.

New Import Data Show China Continues to Dominate in Luggage and Travel Goods

The second quarter import statistics released this week show China continuing to dominate as a shipper of certain luggage and travel goods the object of a bill, H.R. 2139 to grant GSP benefits for luggage and travel goods. For a list of the specific luggage and travel goods covered by the bill click here. China accounted for $3 billion of the $4.3 billion in total imports of these articles. Combined China and Vietnam accounted for 76% of all imports. Other significant shippers were France and Italy, which, combined, accounted for 13% of imports by dollar value. The data behind that analysis is available by clicking here

The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences ("GSP") is a program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 5,000 products when imported from one of 127 designated beneficiary countries and territories. None of the four largest shippers, who collectively account for 90% of U.S. imports of these kinds of luggage and travel goods are eligible for GSP, so the bill will not effect duties on those imports. One GSP-eligible country, India, accounts for 2% of imports and may be poised to take advantage of duty-free entry via GSP should the bill pass. Currently luggage and travel goods are exempted from GSP. In the first half of 2013 the GSP-eligible countries shipped to the U.S. $245 million in travel goods of the kind. While a small portion of those shipments were duty-free under other trade programs, the vast majority were dutiable and the income to the U.S. treasury totaled $26 million. To see the data behind this analysis click here. Were the bill to pass, those shipment could potentially be duty-free.

Supporters have expressed the belief that the bill, if enacted, may result in some production shifting from China and Vietnam to lesser developed nations. The remaining U.S. travel goods manufacturers, on the other hand, have expressed concerns the bill may result in more U.S. production shifting to the lesser developed nations.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Reminder: The ITC Wants to Hear from You Regarding Barriers to Doing Business in Europe

Reminder the United States International Trade Commission ("USITC") is accepting comments on how European non-tariff barriers ("NTBs") affect small- and medium-sized business. Most American textile mills may be classified as small- or medium-sized business. A 2009 study by the European research and consulting firm Ecorys found that NTBs added 19.2 percent to the cost of European textile and clothing articles imported into the US. The added NTB cost for US textiles and clothing exported to the EU was found to be 16.7 percent.

FTC Approves Final Orders Settling Charges Against Retailers Accused of Marketing Real Fur Products as Fake Fur

The United States Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") has approved final orders settling charges that retailers Neiman Marcus, and Eminent Inc. sold products containing real fur when they were advertised as containing "faux" fur, and that they did not identify the animal that produced the fur. Neiman Marcus also allegedly labeled a rabbit fur product as containing mink fur, and failed to disclose the country of origin for three fur products as required by the Fur Act and the Fur Rules (formally, the Fur Products Labeling Act and the Rules and Regulations Under the Fur Products Labeling Act). For more information see the release on the FTC website by clicking here.

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman to Travel to Tokyo, Japan and Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman will travel to Asia this month for meetings on the Trans-Pacific Partnership ("TPP") and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ("ASEAN"). Ambassador Froman will stop in Tokyo, Japan on August 19 for a full day of meetings with his ministerial counterparts on the TPP. He will then continue on to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, from August 20-23 for the ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings on the margins of the nineteenth TPP negotiating round.

Ambassador Froman’s schedule in Brunei will include a meeting with the ASEAN Ministers under the ASEAN-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement, an informal meeting of the East Asia Summit Economic Ministers, and the ASEAN-U.S. Business Summit.

In addition to discussing the TPP and parallel bilateral negotiations in Japan, Ambassador Froman will also meet with TPP ministers in Brunei on August 22-23, as negotiators gather for the TPP talks. Ministers will discuss key outstanding issues and chart a course for the expeditious conclusion of a TPP agreement. TPP Leaders have directed trade ministers and negotiators to seek to complete an agreement this year.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reminder, Comments on Carbon Fiber FTZ Application are Due Monday, August 12th

An application has been submitted to the Foreign-Trade Zones Board by the Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority, grantee of FTZ 83, requesting production authority on behalf of Toray Carbon Fibers America, Inc. (Toray), located in Decatur, Alabama. The application conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on May 30, 2013.

Production under FTZ procedures could exempt Toray from customs duty payments on the foreign materials used in export production. The company anticipates that some 15 to 20 percent of the plant's carbon fiber shipments will be exported, and some 5 to 10 percent of its PAN fiber production will be exported. On its domestic sales, Toray would be able to choose the duty rates during customs entry procedures that apply to its finished carbon fiber (duty free) for the foreign inputs noted below. (The PAN fiber produced at the plant has higher duty rates than any of its foreign-sourced components.) Toray would also be exempt from duty payments on any foreign-origin materials that become scrap or waste during production. Customs duties also could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign status production equipment.

Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is August 12, 2013. For more information see my earlier blog post here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Auggie Tantillo Tapped to Lead NCTO

This morning Bill Jasper, Chairman of the National Council of Textile Organizations ("NCTO") announced that Cass Johnson had stepped down from the presidency of NCTO and that the Executive Committee had appointed Auggie Tantillo as President of NCTO, effective immediately. Mr. Tantillo had been serving as Strategic Consultant to NCTO.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

To Those Doing Business in Scotland

This coming Monday, August 5th, is the Summer Bank Holiday in Scotland (but not the rest of the United Kingdom).

Army Camo Coveralls Contract Awarded

Carter Industries Inc., Olive Hill, Ky., has been award a maximum $9,244,800 modification (P00012) exercising the second option year for improved combat vehicle crewman's, universal camouflage pattern coveralls. The contract is a firm fixed price contract. Locations of performance are Kentucky and New York with a July 30, 2014 performance completion date. Using service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2014 Defense Working Capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., SPM1C1-11-D-1026.