Tuesday, June 23, 2020

FTC wants your feedback about proposed Made in USA Rule

On June 22, 2020, The Federal Trade Commission issued a staff report on an FTC workshop on Made in USA claims that was held last fall, and a notice of proposed rulemaking for a Made in USA Labeling Rule (proposed Rule).

The proposed Rule will apply to product labels making Made in USA and other unqualified U.S.-origin claims. The proposed Rule incorporates guidance set forth in the Commission’s previous Decisions and Orders and its 1997 Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims.

To read more CLICK HERE.

Care Labeling Rule: Should it be repealed?

FTC rules can have a substantial impact on businesses and on the everyday lives of consumers. As part of its ongoing review of existing rules, the FTC periodically seeks your input on whether a particular one still performs its desired function or if it’s been overtaken by changes in technology or the marketplace. Next in the review queue is a rule that’s been around for almost 50 years and the FTC is asking if it should be repealed. It’s the Care Labeling Rule

The Commission seeks comment on the costs, benefits, and market effects of repealing the Rule as proposed, and particularly the cost on small businesses. Comments opposing the proposed repeal should explain the reasons they believe the Rule is still needed and, if appropriate, suggest specific alternatives.

Monday, June 22, 2020

DoD Announces $2 Million Defense Production Act Title III Agreement to Sustain U.S. Domestic Production of Fabric for Army Dress Uniforms at American Woolen Company

As part of the national response to COVID-19, the Department of Defense entered a $2 million agreement with American Woolen Company to sustain domestic production of poly/wool blend fabric for U.S. Army dress uniforms.

Using funds authorized and appropriated under the CARES Act, this DPA Title III investment will sustain the domestic production capability and capacity of poly/wool blend fabric for Army dress uniforms. The sustainment of this production capability will ensure the U.S. Government gets dedicated long term industrial capacity to meet the needs of the nation.

This investment will leverage American Woolen Company’s manufacturing capabilities to commercialize the Army Green Service Uniform (AGSU) fabrics, enabling the government to diversify the supply chain and add a second source of innovation to the market.

American Woolen Company is a small, women-owned manufacturer of wool and wool/blend fabrics based in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, which is the principal place of performance.

Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) will hold its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) will hold its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The meeting will be open to the public via webinar only. There is no on-site, in-person option for this quarterly meeting.


The COAC will hear from the current subcommittees on the topics listed below and then will review, deliberate, provide observations, and formulate recommendations on how to proceed:

1. The Rapid Response Subcommittee will provide updates and recommendations from the Broker Exam Modernization Working Group and the United States--Mexico--Canada Agreement (USMCA) Working Group. The subcommittee will also discuss the COAC COVID-19 Recommendations and White Paper and the Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery as well as announce the creation of a new Rapid Response Working Group that will focus on automotive certification requirements under USMCA.

2. The Intelligent Enforcement Subcommittee will provide updates and recommendations from the working groups under its jurisdiction for COAC's consideration. The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Working Group continues to work on a background paper on the issue of a Bad Actors list. The concept is related to information sharing--using existing data more effectively to identify bad actors, such as counterfeiters, based on information from both the trade and the U.S. Government. Through the subcommittee, CBP is creating another IPR working group to address industry feedback regarding the Combating Counterfeit & Pirated Goods Presidential Memorandum with plans for recommendations on these issues. The AD/CVD Working Group continues to discuss complex issues with pipe spools and trade remedies and plans to present recommendations on these issues. The Bond Working Group has continued discussions with CBP on bond amounts and requirements for Foreign Trade Zones and Pipeline Operators and plans to present recommendations on these issues. The Forced Labor Working Group will report on progress of its assessment of the current e-Allegations submissions mechanism (portal) and process for reporting forced labor violations and deliver an industry collaboration white paper and related recommendations.

3. The Secure Trade Lanes Subcommittee will provide updates on the four working groups currently operating under the subcommittee. The Trusted Trader Working Group will provide details on activities focusing on the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) trade compliance implementation, developing a methodology for managing program benefits, PGA (Partner Government Agency) engagement, and new forced labor requirements. The subcommittee will provide an update of the In-Bond Working Group's analysis of trade-specific pain points within the current In-Bond processes by mode and will make recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the In-Bond regulations. The Export Modernization Working Group will provide updates on its progress in updating the export data elements and recommendations on changes to remove redundancy and promote efficiency of data submission in support of U.S. exports. The Remote and Autonomous Cargo Processing Working Group will provide updates on the use of image technology for trains crossing land borders and leveraging partnerships through the donations acceptance programs. Additionally, this working group will provide an update on the concept of a driver identification card for a more streamlined and efficient border crossing for non-Free and Secure Trade Lane (FAST) drivers.

4. The Next Generation Facilitation Subcommittee will provide an update on the progress of the Unified Entry Working Group which is moving towards an operational framework by analyzing specific pain points within the entry process. The Emerging Technologies Working Group will cover its assessment of various technologies that could be adapted for CBP and trade issues.

Meeting materials will be available by July 13, 2020, at: http://www.cbp.gov/trade/stakeholder-engagement/coac/coac-public-meetings.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Ambassador Lighthizer Says Lower de Minimis for Imports may Lower

On June 17, 2020, the U.S. Trade Representative, in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, said "The Administration will also look for ways to strengthen our existing trade policies to better protect American producers and consumers. One option is to tighten de minimis thresholds for American imports, including those subject to Section 301 tariffs. At $800, the U.S. de minimis threshold far exceeds that of our major trade partners. For example, the EU threshold is only $150, while China’s stands at a mere $7. This results in massive numbers of shipments to the U.S. receiving duty-free treatment and virtually no screening. In FY2018 and FY2019, there were a combined 1.2 billion de minimis shipments, with 719 million (or roughly 60 percent) coming from China. In contrast, the U.S. received only 68 million formal entries during this period, with only 7.3 million (or less than 11 percent) coming from China. The disproportionately high volume of these shipments indicates China and others are likely exploiting the high U.S. de minimis threshold to avoid paying duties."

Section 321(a)(2)(C) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, authorizes CBP to provide an administrative exemption to admit free from duty and tax shipments of merchandise imported by one person on one day having an aggregate fair retail value in the country of shipment of not more than $800.

The Section 321 de minimis provision has attracted interest of late. On February 24, 2016, the Trade Enforcement and Trade Facilitation Act of 2015, Pub. L. 114-125, 130 Stat. 122 ("TFTEA"), was signed into law, which increased the de-minimis value exemption under 19 U.S.C. § 1321 from $200 to $800. Accordingly, beginning March 10, 2016, articles valued at $800 or less, which are imported by one person on one day, are eligible for duty free entry, under 19 U.S.C. § 1321(a)(2)(C). With the rise of the de minimis to $800 we have seen more online retailers taking advantage of it. For example, Sears used a warehouse in Canada for de minimis shipments of apparel direct to consumers in the U.S.

The AATCC NE Section annual Golf Outing is scheduled for Friday September 11, 2020

Navy Coverall Contract Awarded to Federal Prison Industries

Federal Prison Industries Inc., Washington, D.C., has been awarded a maximum $17,548,000 modification (P00007) exercising the first one-year option period of one-year base contract SPE1C1-19-D-F027 with four one-year option periods for coveralls. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Locations of performance are Georgia, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and Mississippi, with a June 20, 2021, ordering period end date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

AAFA Calls for Changes to Apparel Label Requirement to Allow Digital Labels

The American Apparel and Footwear Association has proposed to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission a regulatory update the apparel, footwear, and travel goods labeling rules to provide "flexible to accommodate new methods of conveying information, especially using digital labels to address the shortcomings of physical markings. We think that the future of apparel labeling will take the shape of a QR code, human-readable URL, other scanning technology, or some combination of these technologies printed on or embedded in a label."

The proposal is available online HERE

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Face Cover Contract Awarded

Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, has been awarded a maximum $8,750,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for face covers. This is a one-year contract with no option periods. This was a sole-source acquisition using authority granted by the expanded AbilityOne procurement list, make-to-order notice dated April 9, 2020. Location of performance is Maryland, with a June 4, 2021, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-20-D-B089).

Tent Contract Awarded

Outdoor Venture Corp., Stearns, Kentucky, has been awarded a maximum $9,696,612 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for military standard Temper tents. This was a competitive acquisition with two responses received. This is a one-year base contract with four, one-year option periods. Location of performance is Kentucky, with a June 2, 2021, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-20-D-1249).

Monday, June 1, 2020

Massachusetts Governor Tours Facility Testing Quality of Protective Equipment

On May 28, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker and other officials are visited UMass Lowell's Fabric Discovery Center, as reported by WCBV news Boston.