Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AGOA Eligible Countries Keep Benefiting Despite GSP Lapse

Even during the present lapse in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), US Customs clarified for the trade community today that GSP-eligible imports from African countries eligible under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) continue to benefit from GSP.

As currently legislated, the AGOA remains in effect through September 30, 2015.
Special program indicators (SPIs) denoted by a letter are shown on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the US (HTSUS) to indicate under which special program a product may apply.

The overwhelming majority of AGOA-eligible tariff items in the HTSUS indicate one of three GSP SPIs, namely “A,” “A*” or “A+,” and not the AGOA’s SPI “D.”

US Customs requires that the AGOA claim be made on these GSP-eligible tariff items by prefacing the HTSUS number with the SPI “A.”

To receive AGOA preference for eligible goods on a tariff item with the SPI “A,” “A*” or “A+” in the “Special” column of the HTSUS (and not “D”), importers should transmit the entry summary with the SPI “A” and without duty.

For further clarification please refer to the AGOA regulations, 19 CFR 10.178a, and the GSP regulations, 19 CFR 10.171-178.

Questions about this may be directed to the Trade Agreements Branch at or to myself by posting below or emailing me at

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Online Resources for Fashion Compliance and Fashion Law

Are you looking for more fashion law information related to your fashion compliance obligations?

Here is a list of resources to help you learn more about what’s required for you to do the right thing and avoid getting hit by penalties for wrongdoing. We have many other articles in our blog that we invite you to peruse through as well.
Be advised that while we are providing this information and it may be considered guidance, we are not guaranteeing that any of the rules, regulations or protocols stated in these publications and resources are current (in fact portions of it are outdated as you will see since these laws frequently are amended, but it is what the government has published and is therefore, publicly available), still applicable, or should be considered as legal advice.
It is always recommended to have legal counsel review anything you have put together to ensure you are actually complying with the law. 


Are you telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to your product descriptions made in advertisements, whether in print or online?  Perhaps, you’re stretching the truth???

Whatever the case may be, be advised that truthful marketing statements and non-deceptive advertising are highly regulated areas.  To learn more about what you can and can’t do, check out these links here:


Part of the sustainable fashion movement?  Are your products “Eco-friendly?”  If they are, kudos to you!  We are absolutely for the advancement of products that could be considered “sustainable fashion.”

As a warning, however, the government has strict rules on what can be claimed as “green” and even requires proof to substantiate any claims made.  Watch the video on their website and find more information on this at this link here:


We make excellent products here in the U.S.  and if you want to have the privilege of labeling your products with the statement “Made in USA,” you better darn well make sure that it was all or virtually made here in the USA.   While this may sound relatively straightforward, this can get complicated when some components have been imported despite the manufacture of the final product being fabricated here in the US.  It’s complexity further rises when a company wants it’s goods to qualify under the Buy American Act or to sell to the government, which has its own criteria regarding products claiming to be Made in USA.

For more on Made in USA disclosures, check out this page here.


Believe it or not, figuring out the proper way to state required disclosures on clothing can get complicated fast when what you are selling is either imported in to the USA, made in the USA but of foreign components, or made up of US originating components that are assembled into a finished product abroad.  This is because there are overlapping laws that apply to clothes under these circumstances.

It becomes further complicated if you are using recycled materials, unknown fibers or miscellaneous scraps.  Since there is so much misinformation out there on this subject, we invite you to contact us with any questions related to this subject.


To put it mildly, importing laws are a beast unto themselves.  Nuances from fiber blends, to articles sold as sets, to importing second hand clothes all raise specific issues in relation to product classification, labeling, how it is marked and its value determination.

US Customs Informed Compliance Publications cover a wealth of subjects from apparel classification, to fiber trade names, to importing basics.  They all give you a head start on how to do the right thing in terms of importing in to the US.

For these subjects, how to take advantage of money saving opportunities through the trade agreements, and more, check out this link.


“This is not your parent’s post office.”  -- Anonymous, USPS Corporate Office Employee

Don’t be fooled by what the U.S. Postal Service used to be, it currently provides the market’s share of shipping for e-commerce, and has been steadily expanding its reach to new corners of the globe to better serve you the merchant.  Have a look at its international services through the link here.


Many tests required under the apparel laws must be done by a test laboratory certified by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.   While approved by a US agency, they labs may nonetheless be outside of the US.  To search for a lab near you, check out this link here:


It's not uncommon that designers are concerned about the possibility of others taking their creative ideas and profiting from their intellectual property.  Learn more about protecting yourself through trademark, patent and copyright protection at the US Patent and Trademark Office


The following is a list of law schools that have either a Fashion Law course, have hosted a “Fashion Symposium,” or have a “Fashion Club” on campus.

  • New York Law School
  • Loyola Law School
  • Fordham Law School
  • Southwestern Law School
  • University of Virginia School of Law
  • Cardozo Law School
  • New York University
  • New England Law
  • The John Marshall Law School
  • Brooklyn Law School
  • Hastings Law School
  • Charlotte School of Law
  • St. John’s University School of Law
  • Touro Law School
  • Howard University School of Law
  • University of Southern California

Have questions or comments on fashion compliance and/or fashion law? Feel free to connect with us!

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Friday, November 7, 2014

How Do You Classify Sleepwear vs. Loungewear for Customs Purposes?

It's getting chilly outside, and as we bundle up on the outside we're doing the same indoors too. 
But which do you go for - sleepwear or loungewear?

I suppose as long as it's cute, it really doesn't matter, but for US Customs classification purposes it absolutely matters.  So how do you distinguish between the two so that proper disclosures are made to CBP upon entry?

Check out our video to learn more about some of these differentiating factors, and for more fashion and international trade, we invite you to head over to our Fashion Compliance YouTube channel for more easy-to-digest international trade fun.

We invite you to join us on Facebook by *liking* our page at

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Looking Good, Serving a Purpose, and Increasing International Trade?

Today marks the launch of the Winter Collection by Warby Parker, including this “Talbot” frame, which I just love!

Our friends at Warby Parker invited us to share the launch of their Winter Collection and we are happy to do so!  For those of you who didn’t know, they have already distributed over 1 million pairs of glasses to people in need all over the world, which is made possible whenever a pair of glasses is purchased.

Founded with a rebellious spirit and lofty objective, Warby Parker offers designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.

Available today online and in stores, you can pick up your own pair starting at just $95 here, and remember, when you buy a pair, they make eyeglasses accessible to others in need around the world.  Check out their story and their products at!

Questions or comments? Post below or email me at
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On Twitter @fashcompliance

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Another Scarf Recalled Over Threat of Flammability

Sheen and light, these stylish women’s 100% silk scarves pose an unfortunate burn risk and have therefore been the latest subject of an apparel product recall. 

This being the second case of enforcement of the law governing the non-flammability of wearing apparel in just a few months, it suggests that government oversight of products violating the federal flammability standard is on the rise.

Measuring 72 inches long by 20 inches wide, the scarves were made in China and sold by specialty boutiques worldwide and online at from August 2012 to August 2014.  Consumers should stop wearing them and contact Zazou Scarves to return them for a full refund.

More information on this recall can be found here.

Have questions or comments? 

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