The Textile Fiber Products Identification Act, also known as the “Textile Labeling Rule,” requires brands to attach a label to covered textile products containing the generic names and percentages by weight of each fiber in the product, the name under which the manufacturer or other responsible party does business or RN number, and the name of the country in which the product was processed or manufactured.
In a Federal Register Notice on November 7, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requested comments on “the overall costs, benefits, necessity, and regulatory and economic impact of the FTC’s Rules and Regulations pursuant to the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act.” Specifically, the Commission requested comment on the following:
The Commission specifically requests comment on whether it should: Modify the provision addressing generic fiber names so that the reference to the international standard for manufactured fibers reflects the updated standard; clarify the provisions addressing textile products containing elastic material and “trimmings”; address the use of multiple languages in making required disclosures; clarify disclosure requirements applicable to written advertising, including Internet advertising; clarify or revise the list of exclusions from the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act; add or clarify definitions of terms set forth in the Rules; and modify its consumer and business education materials and continue printing paper copies of these materials. In addition, the Commission seeks comment on: the benefits and costs of the requirement of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act that, under certain circumstances, businesses use identification issued by the FTC; and the extent to which retailers obtain guarantees and continuing guarantees for textile products and whether the extent or manner of importation indicates that the guarantee provisions of the Act and Rules should be modified.
On February 2, 2012, the United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA), now United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), filed comments in response to the FTC’s request. In the comments, we made a few important points:
- 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 recommends that the FTC seriously consider mutual recognition of differing international approaches to labeling requirements.
- USA-ITA strongly urges the FTC 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 FTC from being required to amend the regulations every time the standard is amended.
USFIA (formerly USA-ITA) also joined a number of textile and apparel associations in submitting similar comments. In these comments, the associations contend that the rules “should be updated to reflect the most recent version adopted by the international standards” and that “fiber performance related hang tags, and other non-permanently affixed point-of-sale information, should be held to ‘non-deceptive’ requirements, but not to regulatory mandates requiring information unavailable to fiber producers.”
In a Federal Register Notice on May 20, 2013, the FTC requested comments on a proposed update to the rules and regulations, including amending 19 CFR § 303.17 to recognize that a fiber performance-related hang-tag need not provide a complete fiber content disclosure in response to the comments from USA-ITA/USFIA and others. The proposed update also includes revisions to Section 303.45, which describes the coverage of and exclusions and specifically excludes second-hand clothing from household textile products.
On July 8, 2013, USA-ITA, now USFIA, filed comments in response to the FTC’s request. On the first point, we suggested that the FTC eliminate the disclosure requirement in the first point unless there is a demonstrable danger of deception. On the second point, we suggested that the Section 303.45(b)(4) be revised by adding “, including articles or wearing apparel”, so as to read: “Secondhand household articles, including articles of wearing apparel [ ].”