16 CFR Part 303: Rules and Regulations Under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, Project No. P948404 #00014 

Submission Number:
00014 
Commenter:
Julia Hughes
Organization:
United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA)
State:
District of Columbia
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 303: Rules and Regulations Under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, Project No. P948404

Dear Mr. Clark: The United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (“USA-ITA”) submits the following comments in response to the Commission’s request for comments on the overall cost, benefits, necessity and regulatory and economic effects of rules issued under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, 16 USC § 70-70k (the “Act”). USA-ITA is a voluntary association of some 200 importers, distributors and retailers of textile products and wearing apparel, as well as related service industries such as international transportation concerns. The Commission specifically requests comments on whether it should: 1) modify the provisions found in 16 CFR Part 300 (the “Rules”) addressing generic fiber names so that the reference to the international standard reflects the updated standards, 2) clarify the provisions addressing textile products containing elastic material and trimmings, 3) address use of multiple languages in making required disclosures, 4) clarify disclosure requirements applicable to written advertising, including internet advertising, and 5) clarify or revise the list of exclusions from the Act’s coverage. The Commission also asks what modifications, if any, should be made to the Rules, whether the Rules conflict with other federal, state, or local rules such as those enforced by Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) whether there are any foreign or international rules that the Commission should consider as it reviews the Rules and whether there would be any benefit in allowing distributors and retailers to use identifiers other than the RN number, for example the Canadian CA number, as an alternative to the RN number. The members of USA-ITA, all of whom import apparel and many of whom market their products in markets outside the United States, are well versed in the requirements of the Rules and, in general, have not had serious problems in applying the Rules. However, they frequently experience difficulties in dealing with the different national and international labeling requirements. The following comments and suggestions reflect this experience: (11)There is an apparent conflict between the very detailed rules of origin as found in the trade laws, specifically 19 USC § 3592, and the more general rule of origin found in Section 303.33(d) of the Rules. USA-ITA understands that the Commission’s policy is that the origin of imported products is as determined under the trade laws. An amendment to Section 303.33(d) formalizing the policy should be considered. (12)USA-ITA does not recommend that the Commission consider any international rules. However, USA-ITA suggests that the Commission seriously consider mutual recognition of differing approaches to labeling requirements. The difficulty of meeting varied national labeling requirements inhibits the ability of United States producers and marketers to sell their products in international markets. The differences, many of which are insignificant, increase costs and severely limit the ability to shift inventory from one national market to another. (13)USA-ITA strongly urges the Commission to modify Section 303.7 to address the development of ISO 2076-2010. Further, USA-ITA suggests that the revised provision be modified so that it applies to any new developments in the standard. This would relieve the Commission from being required to amend the regulations every time the standard is amended. Permitting reference to the standard is a significant benefit to USA-ITA members, particularly those who participate in international markets. It makes it easier to develop labeling that satisfies the requirements of multiple jurisdictions. (15)USA-ITA members request clarification of the rules relating to the treatment of ornamentation and trim. There is confusion with respect to the definition and treatment of decorative trim. Some garments have embroidery or other decoration on the interior which are not visible when the garment is