Fashion Intel & Analysis

Pending a decision expected to be issued later today by the chief justice of Brazil’s Supreme Court, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) continues to have a hold on Senate consideration of a House approved bill to extend the Andean trade preferences and Generalized System of Preferences programs for one more year. Both duty-free programs are set to expire December 31. At issue for Lautenberg is a New Jersey father’s battle in Brazil for custody of his son. Brazil is a beneficiary country under the GSP program, so Lautenberg believes the threat of allowing duty-free treatment to expire might influence the Brazilian Government.

While there is some optimism that the Brazilian chief justice will rule in favor of the U.S. father, USA-ITA member companies, particularly those with operations in New Jersey, whose business with Colombia, Peru or Ecuador under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act will be affected by the expiration of the Andean program can write to Lautenberg to impress upon him how his own state may be harmed by the hold. Faxes can be sent to 202-228-4054; emails can be sent via The Senate may recess for the year as soon as Thursday evening, Christmas Eve.

             The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has posted on its website two draft federal register notices, one that provides additional guidance on how it will define “children’s products” for the purpose of requiring third-party testing for lead on these products, and another that reveals the filing of a petition to ease testing requirements for lead in paint.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

               The first draft FR notice, which generally explains the agency’s vote to extend the stay of enforcement for testing and certification requirements for lead content until February 10, 2011, notes that guidance on how “children’s products” will be defined can be found in a series of “frequently asked question” documents on the CPSC’s website. The FAQs indicate that the CPSC believes items such as stuffed animals, kids’ art materials, lunchboxes, strollers and other items are children’s products, as well as children’s-sized bicycles, mattresses, apparel and ATVs. In addition, the draft FR notice provides two new examples of products the Commission would not view as being intended primarily for children. These are car mats with cartoon themes, which the CPSC says are not intended for children despite the child theme of the product, and mulch advertised for use in gardens but bought by a school as playground surfacing. In each case, CPSC says, testing for lead content would not be required.

                The second draft FR notice indicates that the CPSC will soon seek public comment on a petition it received in July, to ease requirements on lead testing for paint. That petition asks the CPSC to permit companies to submit sample products for the testing of paint in a form that is not identical to products as they are found in the market, so that fewer products need to be submitted. The petition says that under the current interpretation of the law, when a product uses only a very small amount of a certain paint, several hundred products might need to be submitted for testing so the lab can get enough of a sample to test the paint. The petition suggests allowing the use of a product that includes a larger-than-normal paint sample, so that fewer samples are destroyed. The CPSC plans to allow a 60-day comment period, once the notice is published in the Federal Register.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission yesterday voted in favor of extending the stay of enforcement for testing and certification requirements for lead content until February 10, 2011.

That agreement is a compromise between two other competing proposals, to extend the stay to imposed by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 until August 10, 2010 or until the date that is six months after the CPSC issues its so-called 15 month rules (which will address issues like testing frequency and product sampling).

Only Commissioner Robert Adler voted against the one year extension, stating that “no hard evidence” had been presented to justify an extension beyond August 10, 2010 or to link the date of the extension to the 15 month rule.


The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced today that there is an agreement that China will terminate the export subsidies covered by the "Famous Brands" dispute settlement case. The challenged subsidies included export subsidies for textiles and apparel products, as well as other consumer products. USTR brought the case in December 2008, and held numerous consultations with Chinese officials during the past year. USA-ITA will provide additional information when details are available.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) yesterday evening released its interim enforcement policy and plans for issuing rules that would permit component and composite testing under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

The policy provides important flexibility in three main areas. First, the interim policy says that the CPSC intends to issue a rule describing when children’s products may be certified at the 300 PPM lead content level on the basis of testing of components separate from the final product. Pending release of the rule, manufacturers and importers may certify finished children’s products based on certification of each accessible component, as long as the certification for the final product lists each component that was tested. These tests must again be done by a third-party lab (as are all tests for children’s products), but manufacturers and importers can rely on certificates obtained by other parties.

Second, pending issuance of a formal rule, the CPSC will allow manufacturers and importers to certify compliance for paint on children’s products based on third-party tests of paint, regardless of whether the lab tests dried paint on the product or liquid paint before it is applied. The CPSC will allow this process as long as paint samples are representative of that used on the final product. As an example, if a drying agent is used, the samples should reflect this mixture. The commission intends to issue a rule that describes when paint on children’s products may be tested and certified as meeting the 90 parts-per-million lead requirement in liquid form, before it is applied to the children’s product.

The interim policy also holds that any party certifying paint for use on children’s products must be able to trace each batch of paint back to the manufacturer, and the certificate accompanying the children’s product must list each paint used, and identify the test report on which certification is based. Test reports should identify all paint tested and the manufacturer and supplier of the paint, and that manufacturers and importers can rely on certificates obtained by other parties.

Third, with respect to composite testing, third-party labs may test a combination of paints as they test for lead content, or a combination of metal components, as long as proper procedures are followed. Composite testing was raised during the CPSC’s workshop on CPSIA enforcement last week.

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