Textile Industry Alert!
New Labeling Requirements for Socks Effective
March 3, 2006
The Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 2004 imposes special requirements for disclosing the country of origin of socks included under Harmonized Tariff Schedule classifications 6115.92.90, 6115.93.90, 6115.99.18, 6111.20.60, 6111.30.50, and 611.90.50. For those socks, the country of origin must be placed on the front of the package, adjacent to the size information. (If the size information is on the back of the package, the country of origin must still be on the front of the package.) If the socks are banded together by a label or hangtag, the country of origin must appear on the front of that label or tag. The new requirements are set forth in the FTC’s Textile Rules at 16 CFR § 303.15(d).
The only exception to this new requirement is for socks included in a package that also contains other types of goods (such as a baby outfit that includes socks as well as other items of clothing). However, such packages of multiple items must comply with other sections of the FTC’s Textile Rules (see, for example, 16 CFR §§ 303.28 and 303.29).
The FTC understands that the March 3, 2006, compliance date may create problems for retailers who have inventories of socks that were received before March 3 and are correctly labeled under the requirements in effect before that date. The Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection addressed this problem in a recent letter to Senator Burr stating that FTC staff would not recommend steps to enforce the new requirements against retail businesses that are making good faith efforts to comply with the law, but also wish to exhaust inventories of socks received before the effective date.