© Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Justice and Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced that they had entered into consent decrees with three New York-based toy companies and five individuals for importing and selling products that violate the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act. The consent decrees enter permanent injunctions against the companies from importing and selling toys until certain remedial actions are implemented and monitored by the CPSC. The decrees can be read here and here.

The DOJ and CPSC alleged that the individuals and companies – Everbright Trading Inc., Lily Popular Varieties & Gifts Inc., and Great Great Corporation – imported and sold numerous children’s toys and products that contained high levels lead content, lead paint, and phthalates; contained small parts; and violated the mandatory toy safety standard (ASTM F-963), bicycle helmet safety standard, and labeling of art material (LHAMA) requirements.

Continue Reading Government Blocks Companies from Importing and Selling Children’s Products after Alleged Non-Compliance with Product Safety Laws

From economic sanctions to import tariffs, the incoming Trump administration has suggested it will seek to implement almost immediately significant changes in international trade policy and enforcement. In addition to these potentially seismic shifts, technological and social developments reshaping international trade rules and global supply chains are gathering speed, from the expanding adoption of blockchain technology to increasing corporate social responsibility requirements. On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, our Crowell & Moring team discussed predictions for the coming year. We stepped into the eye of this perfect storm to identify the international trade risks and opportunities likely to arise for your businesses in the course of 2017.

Please click here to access an on-demand recording of the webinar (note: you must complete the registration form for access).

Key Topics:

  • Sanctions in a Trump Administration: Iran, Cuba, Russia, and beyond
  • AML – “de-risking” and the new normal
  • ECR here to stay? Rollbacks? What’s next?
  • Supply chain risk management: CSR, blockchain, conflict minerals: new actors, and public disclosure – 2017 Issue
  • New tax on imports? Impact of possible border adjustment tax on your business; increased enforcement; ACE update
  • A new sheriff in town? Expedited case decisions, retaliatory tariffs, and China, China, China.

Presenters included members of our international trade team and Crowell & Moring International based in Washington, D.C. and Brussels.

 

FLC Pic

On February 12, 2016, the Federal Bar Association will host a day-long Fashion Law Conference at Parsons School of Design (Starr Foundation Hall in the New School’s stunning new University Center) on the last day of New York Fashion Week!

Speakers include in-house counsel from The Estee Lauder Companies, Inc., Tiffany & Co., New York & Company, and Global Brands Group.

Topics include cover anti-counterfeiting, FTC and trademark considerations, ethical sourcing and labor issues, the regulatory framework of labeling and disclosure, mergers/acquisitions and antitrust considerations, and the current legal issues in e-commerce and mobile apps.

We are privileged to have the Honorable Claire R. Kelly from the U.S. Court of International Trade provide opening remarks, and Professor Susan Scafidi, Academic Director of the Fashion Law Institute—and one of the foremost leaders in the field of fashion law—as our luncheon keynote speaker.

Please join Crowell & Moring’s, Cheryl Falvey, Chahira Solh, Frances Hadfield and a host of other speakers and experts for our cutting-edge fashion law panels (and of course plenty of networking opportunities). We look forward to seeing you there!

Photo credit: Federal Bar Association

On January 6th, the Mexican Government published a new list of apparel and textile goods with “estimated prices.” These prices are the minimum reference price that goods ranging from raw materials to finished products may be imported into Mexico and is categorized by Harmonized Tariff Schedule classification number. Shipments entered below these prices will be considered “undervalued” and would likely be subject to an investigation and potential penalties. If the parties to the transaction are related entities, this may also trigger larger questions as to the intercompany pricing (i.e., transfer pricing policy) behind the transactions as well. The measure entered into force on January 18, 2016. The announcement is attached here (in Spanish). Continue Reading Mexico Publishes List of Minimum Reference Price for Textile and Apparel Imports

Crowell & Moring is partnering with the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) for an October 20 webinar covering the emerging legal landscape for the fashion industry in the digital media age. The webinar will run from 2:00 to 3:00 pm ET and will explore how to:

  • Best protect your intellectual property rights as fashion goes high tech.
  • Avoid advertising and regulatory pitfalls.
  • Minimize “at the border” customs delays or litigation.
  • Safeguard your interests in an age of heightened data capture.

The panelists from Crowell & Moring will include:

  • Cheryl A. Falvey, partner in the Washington, D.C., office and co-chair of the firm’s Advertising & Product Risk Management Group. Cheri is the former general counsel of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
  • Lora A. Moffatt, partner in the New York office and a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group, focusing on brand protection.
  • Frances P. Hadfield, counsel in the New York office and a member of the firm’s International Trade Group, focusing on customs litigation and regulatory compliance.

Registration is free for USFIA members or affiliates and $95 for non-members. Please click here for more information and to register at usfashionindustry.com.

Last week, the Department of Justice filed an action against Michaels Stores on behalf of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”).  According to the complaint, between 2006 and 2010 Michaels sold glass vases which were prone to shattering in consumers’ hands and caused multiple injuries.

The complaint alleges that (1) despite receiving injury reports from consumers beginning in 2007, Michaels failed notify the CPSC of the hazard until 2010; and (2) Michaels sought to mislead the CPSC by implying that another company imported the vases, when in fact Michaels was the “importer of record.”  (Under the Consumer Product Safety Act an importer has the same reporting obligations as a manufacturer.)  The CPSC is seeking civil penalties and a permanent injunction to allow for compliance oversight of the retailer.

Click here to read the full article on this case and lessons it can provide for retailers.

Click here to view a three-part video series by Crowell & Moring partner Cheryl Falvey that reviews compliance programs and risk mitigation strategies for consumer products companies.

On August 19, 2014, the Department of Justice announced that Samsung Electronics had agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle a qui tam lawsuit alleging Samsung had caused its resellers to violate the Trade Agreements Act (TAA) by selling Samsung products manufactured in non-designated countries (primarily China) on their GSA Multiple Award Schedule contracts. This settlement underscores the need for companies selling to the U.S. under schedule contracts, whether directly or indirectly, to actively monitor changes in their supply chain for both end products as well as components and ancillary items offered separately to U.S. government customers on contracts subject to the TAA.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations formally commenced on July 8, 2013. A little over a year later, the negotiators have held six rounds of negotiations. The most recent round of negotiations was held during the week of July 14-18 in Brussels, and the seventh round is now expected for D.C. in late September.

During July’s discussions, the two sides covered the full range of “market access” issues, including trade in goods, trade in services, investment, and government procurement. Negotiations included greater regulatory cooperation, widely considered to be the greatest value of the TTIP talks, with modest progress made in regards to several product sectors, including textiles and apparel (where they focused on labeling and safety issues), chemicals (where they discuss broad opportunities for cooperation), and automobiles (where talks advanced in areas like equivalence of technical regulations). Food safety also continued to be an important issue during negotiations, particularly with the leak of the EU’s proposed chapter on Sanitary and Phytosantiary Measures (SPS) prior to the start of the latest round.

Continue Reading Sixth Round of TTIP Negotiations Concludes in Brussels

On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 from 2:00-3:30 pm EST, a Crowell & Moring team of regulatory and public policy attorneys, along with a subject-matter expert from Exponent, will host a webinar examining the current status of TSCA modernization efforts and the potential impacts on manufacturers and importers.  The discussion will include an analysis of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013, a bill introduced in the Senate earlier this summer that could have profound implications for companies that manufacture or import consumer or industrial products that are made using routine chemical products, such as coatings, paints, adhesives, and insulators, among others.  This proposed bill may create new review requirements, safety standards, and reporting and certification requirements for chemical substances.  Speakers include Cheryl A. Falvey, Warren Lehrenbaum, and Josh Tzuker from Crowell & Moring and John Phillips from Exponent.  For more information about this upcoming webinar and to register, click here.

Politicians and public interest groups in the European Union are showing renewed interest in expanded country of origin labeling requirements in the wake of February’s horse meat scandal, where lasagna and other products sold in the EU purportedly made from beef were found instead to contain horse meat. Specifically, attention is focused on Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011, published in November 2011, which imposes a number of notable labeling requirements, including mandatory nutritional information, allergen ingredient emphasis, and nanomaterial identification. The regulation also includes newly expanded requirements for labeling foods with their country of origin. For more information, click here.

Content provided by Laura J. Walther, counsel in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office.