16 CFR Part 301: Regulations Under the Fur Products Labeling Act, Matter No. P074201 #00013 

Submission Number:
Matt Priest
Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA)
District of Columbia
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 301: Regulations Under the Fur Products Labeling Act, Matter No. P074201
JOHN B. PELLEGRINI 212.548.7020 Fax 212.715.2301 jpellegrini@mcguirewoods.com April 26, 2011 Via Electronic Mail Office of the Secretary Federal Trade Commission Room H-113 (Annex O) 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Fur Rules Dear Mr. Clark: These comments are submitted on behalf of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (“FDRA”) in response to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 76 Federal Register 13550 (March 14, 2011) (the ”Notice”), which requests comments on the Fur Act Regulations, 16 C.F.R. Part 301. FDRA is a trade association of some 70 retailers, importers, distributors and producers of footwear. FDRA members account for some 75 percent of United States retail sales and imports of footwear. FDRA members do not have a great deal of experience in complying with the fur rules. Until the legislative elimination of the Commission’s authority to exempt products with a relatively small quantity or value from labeling requirements, footwear was not subject to labeling requirements. Until that time, the fur used on most footwear satisfied the de minimis exception. FDRA’s principal concern with respect to the fur rules relates to the very specific labeling requirements, in particular, the size of the label and the size of the type font. 16 CFR §§ 301.27 - 301.30 mandate that the label be of a specific dimension, require that the label remain on the fur product until delivered to the consumer, contain lettering of a specified minimum font size and list the required information in a specified order. The label size (1.75” x 2.75”) is too large to be easily attached to most footwear. Indeed, consumers may find it difficult to find the information on footwear, particularly footwear which is not over the ankle. FDRA suggests that the fur rules be amended by eliminating the label dimension requirements. Further, the rules should be amended to make it clear that the requirement is that the label be durable, meaning that it will survive distribution to the ultimate consumer. The Commission should make it clear that a hang-tag firmly fixed to footwear is sufficient to satisfy the requirement of durability. A hang-tag is the sole practical label for most footwear. The requirement of the fur rules that there be a separate origin declaration as to fur should be eliminated. In the majority of cases, the fur will originate in the same country as the footwear. In this circumstance, it is simply redundant to require a separate statement of origin for the fur. This is particularly the case when as here, the fur is mere trim, not a major component of the footwear. The requirement that the use of paws or tails be disclosed should be eliminated in those circumstances where the fur is present as trim only. Trim could be defined to be limited to those applications which represent that 15 percent less of the physical surface of the article. This would not be deceptive. FDRA believes that consumers understand that the fur used in trim likely is not of the same type and quality used to make the body of a shoe. The purpose of this request is simply to make it easier to provide appropriate information on a single label. As is noted above, there simply is not a great deal of room on footwear to provide a great deal of information. Use of a hang-tag alleviates part of this problem. Any elimination of what is unnecessary or redundant information will make it easier to provide hang-tags that useful information to consumers at point of sale. * * * FDRA appreciates the opportunity to comment on this important matter and urges that its views be adopted. Respectfully submitted, McGUIREWOODS LLP John B. Pellegrini cc: FDRA