Brussels – More and more fashion companies are announcing programs with ambitious (some more than others) goals in relation to environmental, social and governance criteria. Recently ASOS launched its ‘Fashion with Integrity’ (FWI) 2030 programme, committing to achieve Net Zero across the full value chain by 2030. Also consumer demand is not lagging behind, urging fashion companies to change the way they run their businesses and minimizing environmental impact while keeping track of human rights and labour practices across the production and supply chain.

Continue Reading ESG in fashion: a general overview of the EU framework on environment, social and governance criteria in the fashion industry

On October 8, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) settled its charges against mattress company Resident Home LLC and its owner for allegedly making unsubstantiated claims that DreamCloud mattress’ are “proudly made with 100 percent USA-made premium quality materials.” In reality, the DreamCloud mattresses are finished abroad, and in some cases, they are completely imported or contain significant imported materials. Continue Reading The FTC Settles “Made in USA” Case for $753,000 After New Rule Goes Into Effect

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Advertising and Marketing & Privacy and Security

  • The FTC approved a settlement with the operators of MoviePass over allegations that they took steps to block subscribers from using the service as advertised, while also failing to secure subscribers’ personal data. The FTC alleged that MoviePass Inc.—along with CEO Mitchell Lowe, and MoviePass’ parent company and its CEO, deceptively marketed its “one movie per day” service, then deployed deceptive tactics aimed at preventing subscribers from using the service as advertised —actions the FTC alleged violated both the FTC Act and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act. The FTC also alleged MoviePass’s operators left a database containing large amounts of subscribers’ personal information unencrypted and exposed, leading to unauthorized access.

Continue Reading FTC Updates – October 2021

On October 13, President Biden issued a Fact Sheet entitled Biden Administration Efforts to Address Bottlenecks at Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Moving Goods from Ship to Shelf to help address the “delays and congestion” across the transportation supply chain. As has been widely reported in recent weeks and months, the global supply chain has been hard hit by large increases in e-commerce and delays and shutdowns implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19. The release confirms public and private commitments to move goods more quickly and to secure the resiliency of American and global supply chains. To do so, the Biden Administration is focusing on the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which act as the ports of entry to the United States for 40% of containers received. The President, together with leadership from these ports, are undertaking a series of public and private commitments as noted below. Continue Reading Biden Administration Works with Industry Stakeholders to Address Supply Chain Delays at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

As the world continues to settle into its new normal regulators have so too. Recently, State Attorneys General (AGs) are increasingly focused on several specific enforcement priorities, including (1) price gouging; (2) privacy concerns; (3) antitrust litigation; and (4) harmful substances in products and environmental issues. Many of these priorities have gained prominence in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue Reading Enforcement in the New Normal: Recent Trends in State AG Enforcement

For the first time since February 2017, when then-Chairman Elliot Kaye stepped down as leader of the agency, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has a permanent chairman. On October 7, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Alexander Hoehn-Saric as Chairman (and Commissioner) of the CPSC by voice vote. Hoehn-Saric’s confirmation comes on the heels of some partisan wrangling at the Commission during which Republican Commissioners Dana Baiocco and Peter Feldman successfully amended the Commission’s FY22 Operating Plan by a 2-1 vote over the strong opposition of then-Acting (Democratic) Chairman Robert Adler. Given Adler’s plea following that vote for the (Democrat-held) Senate to confirm the pending nominations of Hoehn-Saric, and Richard Trumka Jr., and Mary Boyle, President Biden’s two other recent nominees, Hoehn-Saric’s swift confirmation was likely no coincidence. Continue Reading Senate Confirms Hoehn-Saric as Chairman of CPSC

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Bureau of Competition and Bureau of Consumer Protection

  • The FTC and Justice Department issued a joint statement detailing antitrust guidance for businesses taking part in relief efforts and those involved in rebuilding communities affected by Hurricane Ida without violating the antitrust laws. The statement highlighted that the agencies will hold businesses or individuals accountable for attempting to “illegally subvert competition or engage in fraudulent conduct under the guide of disaster recovery.”

FTC Operations

  • The FTC approved a series of resolutions that will enable agency staff to efficiently and expeditiously investigate conduct in core FTC priority areas over the next ten years. The Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Bureau of Competition recommended that the Commission authorize eight new compulsory process resolutionsin these essential areas: (1) Acts or Practices Affecting United States Armed Forces Service Members and Veterans; (2) Acts or Practices Affecting Children; (3) Bias in Algorithms and Biometrics; (4) Deceptive and Manipulative Conduct on the Internet; (5) Repair Restrictions; (6) Abuse of Intellectual Property; (7) Common Directors and Officers and Common Ownership; and (8) Monopolization Offenses.

Continue Reading FTC Updates – September 2021

On October 4, 2021, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai delivered a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) detailing the Biden Administration’s new strategy for managing U.S.-China trade relations. Tai announced that the USTR will restart a targeted tariff exclusion process for Section 301 duties. Today (October 6) the USTR published a request for comments regarding possible reinstatement of certain exclusions to the Section 301 tariffs visible here. The exclusion process covers 549 products for which the prior Administration granted exclusion extensions, most of which expired on December 31, 2020.  See here for the list of covered products   The USTR is seeking public comments on whether or not to further extend the exclusion from 301 tariffs on these products.  The comment period opens October 12 and closes December 1 and 11:59 PM EST and can be accessed here.

The factors the USTR will consider in deciding whether or not to extend exclusions are similar to those considered in the prior Administration, including:

  1. whether the particular product is available in the United States or other countries;
  2. how changes in the global supply chain since September 2018 or any other relevant industry developments have impacted product availability;
  3. the efforts the importers or U.S. purchases have undertaken since September 2018 to source the product from the U.S. or other countries; and
  4. domestic capacity for production in the United States.

The USTR is also considering additional criteria for granting exclusions, such as whether or not reinstating the exclusion will impact or result in severe economic harm to the commenter or to other U.S. interests, such as small businesses, employment, manufacturing, or critical supply chains. It remains to be seen if other criteria, possibly relevant to broader administration goals such as promoting efforts to advance climate change, might also be considered.

If the USTR reinstates exclusions, then such exclusions would be reinstated retroactively. Importers may seek 301 duty refunds on all subject entries that are not “liquidated” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the time the importer makes a claim for a refund with CBP.  CBP typically liquidates an entry 314 days after entry, so the sooner importers file for and receive an exclusion extension the greater the potential duty refunds. Continue Reading U.S.-China Trade: USTR Restarts Tariff Exclusion Process for Section 301 Duties

On October 1, 2021, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”) published a proposed regulation that would list Nail Products Containing Toluene as a Priority Pollutant under its Safer Consumer Products (“SCP”) program.

Comments will be accepted by the DTSC respecting the proposed regulation until November 18, 2021.

The proposed regulation is aimed specifically at nail salon workers as well as pregnant women and their fetuses, infants, children and adolescents.

The rationale behind DTSC taking this action at this time, in part, is that these populations, within the specific context of nail salons currently under consideration, are deemed “sensitive subpopulations” pursuant to 22 Cal. Code Regs. § 69501.1(a)(64), as well as comprising a significant percentage of persons of color and/or persons of lower socioeconomic status, as set forth in Cal. Gov’t Code 65040.12(e) (“Environmental Justice”).

The proposed regulation covers nail coatings and nail polish thinners, including an array of specific types of coatings, including solvent or UV base coating, top coating, lacquer, gel nail polish, hard gel, shellac, nail art paint, and nail polish thinner, and thus is quite comprehensive in scope. Continue Reading DTSC Proposes Adding Toluene-Containing Nail Products To SCP Priority Pollutants

Here’s a brief review of key developments concerning the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) from the past month or so to help you stay aware of important product safety legislative and regulatory happenings.

Commissioner Elliot Kaye Departs the Commission.  In late August, Commissioner (and former Chairman) Elliot Kaye announced his departure from the agency to assume a senior position at Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen.  Kaye, whose term had expired in October 2020, was serving in his “hold-over” year pending the confirmation of a new commissioner.  As a result of Kaye’s departure, there are currently two Republicans on the Commission (Dana Baiocco and Peter Feldman) and one Democrat—Acting Chairman Robert Adler.  This political dynamic, similar to when the Democrats held a majority of commissioner seats during the Trump Administration, has already caused some partisan maneuvering and angst at the agency (see Vote on FY22 Operations Plan story below).  However, this 2-1 split in favor of the Republicans will not last for long.  Read on! Continue Reading CPSC Insights – September 2021