16 CFR Part 300: Rules and Regulations Under the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939, Project No. P124201 #000003

Submission Number:
Karl Spilhaus
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 300: Rules and Regulations Under the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939, Project No. P124201

Wool Rules, 16 CFR Part 300, Project No. P124201 These comments are submitted on behalf of the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute ("CCMI"), the International Wool Textile Organisation ("IWTO"), and the National Council of Textile Organizations ("NCTO") in response to the notice in the Federal Register September 20, 2012, (78 FR 57808) Rules and Regulations Under the Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939; Notice of proposed rulemaking. CCMI is a New York not-for-profit corporation with offices in Boston, Milan, and Tokyo. CCMI’s mission is to promote the use of genuine cashmere, camel hair, and superfine wool products and protect the interests of manufacturers, retailers and consumers of these products. IWTO, based in Brussels and established in 1927, is custodian of the rules and regulations of the global wool textile industry. The organization's advisers and technical committees established the Super S Code of Practice, hereby referred to, in the year 2006 - a key element of our work is quality assurance and standardization for the worsted industry. NCTO is a unique association representing the entire spectrum of the textile industry in the United States. From fibers to finished products, machinery manufacturers to power suppliers, NCTO is the voice of the U.S. textile industry. When the 2012 review of the Wool Rules was announced, CCMI drafted comments that were submitted, March 26, 2012, jointly by the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, American Sheep Industry Association, Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute, the National Council of Textile Organizations, and the National Textile Association. We are pleased to see that the Proposed Rule incorporates some of our recommendations in whole or in part. We are pleased that the Commission has agreed that there is a continuing need for the Wool Rules, that the Rules need to be updated to implement the Wool Suit Fabric Labeling Fairness and International Standards Conforming Act and modified to reflect some changes in business practices. We agree with the Commission’s clarification that hair of a cashmere goat that does not meet the Act's definition of cashmere is to be labeled "wool." We are pleased that in the case of the "Super" numbers correlating to the fiber diameter of very fine wools the Commission accepted our recommendation that no deviations or tolerances be established. Regarding the Commission's questions 2(A) through (C), relating to the "Super" numbers, we submit -- (A) To what extent do labels use "Super" or "S" numbers to describe wool products containing very fine wool? As we stated in our earlier comments, we found, from 2004, when we first began monitoring the U.S. market for suits, through 2006, widespread use of the "Super" numbers, nearly all of which were out of compliance with the Conforming Act of 2006. We found widespread mislabeling continuing in 2007 and 2008 as well. But by 2009 the trade had been educated as to the substantial penalty for fraudulent misstating of wool fiber diameter. We continued, in 2009 and 2010, to purchase garments in stores and through catalogs and found that "Super" claims were made less frequently and that when they are made they could largely be relied on. In 2012 CCMI staff walked through various stores in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, and New York areas and found that labels, generally, do not us the "Super" numbers. Terms found on the labels were "100% wool," "worsted wool," "fine worsted wool," "fine Italian wool," and "Superfine 100% wool." In the U.S. mislabeling still exists in smaller stores, but is largely absent from reputable chains and department stores. This trend, in the case of in store purchases, has continued in 2013. Note, however, the mislabeling is widespread and flagrant on the Internet, a new focus for CCMI’s efforts. Starting in 2013 CCMI has begun to purchase garments through online retailers, in addition to in-store and catalog purchases.(continued attached