What Labeling Requirements Are There for Textiles?
If you are importing textile products into the United States, you should be aware of these labeling requirements.
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Textile Marking Requirements
As with all products imported into the United States, textile products must be marked with the country of origin prior to entering the U.S. to meet U.S. Customs’ labeling requirements. The marking must be permanent and legible for the ultimate purchaser or consumer to easily see the product's origin.
However, labeling requirements for textiles go one step further: Textile importers and manufacturers whose products are covered by the Textile, Wool and Fur Acts must also meet other federal labeling requirements in order to sell their goods in the United States. Enforcement of these regulations is tasked to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
These rules are slightly different for apparel, footwear, products of fur, and products of faux fur.
Labels on apparel must include:
- Complete breakdown of the fiber content
- Country of origin or manufacture
- Identity of the manufacturer
The label must also include detailed care instructions that describe:
- What the regular care is
- What care is needed for the ordinary use of the product.
The label must be attached permanently. The importer may use their Registered Identification Number (RN) in lieu of their name on the label. The FTC issues RNs to U.S. businesses that manufacture, import, distribute, or sell products covered by the Textile, Wool and Fur Acts.
Footwear only requires the label to state the shoe’s country of origin.
The FTC also requires a permanent label be affixed to any product (clothing, footwear, or accessories) that includes fur. The label should include:
- The animal name
- The name or RN of the manufacturer, importer, marketer or distributor
- The country of origin of the fur, written as “Fur Origin: [Country]”
- Whether or not the fur is pointed, dyed, bleached or artificially colored
- If the fur product is composed in whole or substantial part (>10%) of pieces
- If the fur is used or damaged; and
- The fiber content of any other material used in the product.
Faux fur is a bit more complicated.
Apparel: several states have separate regulations that state that the label of an item appears to be but isn’t fur should clearly state that it is faux fur and include the actual material content.
Footwear: as with apparel, some states require that the product label identify the good as having faux fur. However, the label does not require the actual material content to be listed.
As you can see, marking requirements can be very detailed and specific. Importers who import products without the proper markings can incur heavy fines, and in many cases, Customs will require importers to ship their goods back to their suppliers if the markings do not meet the regulations. This can be extremely costly.