About to import leather products to the United States? In this article, we explain what product regulations you must know before importing your products into the country.
You will learn how these regulations apply to your leather products including both mandatory and non- mandatory safety standards.
In particular, we will cover the following topics:
- US Leather Labeling Rules
- Country of Origin
- CA Prop 65
Notice that most regulations and standards listed in this article are not specific for leather products, that is they might apply to many other categories of products.
US Leather Labeling Rules
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides the guides to select leather and imitation leather products in 16 CFR Part 24. These guides apply to all kinds or types of leather or simulated-leather, and similar articles.
The U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are responsible for enforcing the law and the textiles labeling requirements accordingly. The federal law requires that leather clothing products should have a label that contains the information below:
- Fiber and material content
- Country of origin
- Identity of the manufacturer
- Care instructions
- Disclosure of simulated leather (if applicable)
The label requirements do not apply until the products are ready for sale on the market, and the label should be clearly and visibly located in the product, written legibly and permanently.
The FTC provides the guideline for leather footwear labeling as well. To comply with the regulations, you must not misrepresent your products with any material aspect of the product, and you must disclose the use of imitation or artificial leather when used in your product.
For example, you might disclose your leather footwear’s material on the label such as:
- Simulated leather
- Embossed leather
- Processed leather
- Any additional information about leather material
Also, you will need to comply with the general labeling requirements by disclosing the content, country of origin, manufacturer’s identity and care instructions on the label.
Other leather goods
For other leather goods such as leather wallets or leather bags, the requirements are similar to the ones for leather footwear or leather clothing.
You will need to disclose all applicable information related to the product such as material content, country of origin, manufacturer’s identity, and care instruction.
In general, you must provide sufficient information about the leather material to the customers and you must not describe the leather product in a deceptive way when it comes to its composition or functionality.
Country of Origin
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides the Country of Origin labeling requirement for all products advertised or sold in the United States, except those that are covered by other relevant laws.
In general, most products must carry a Country of Origin label. The label shall be clear and visibly located in the product and written legibly and permanently.
Made in Foreign Countries
The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is mandatory for products that are made in a foreign country, that is outside the U.S. In such cases, you may label your product as:
- Made in China
- Made in PRC
- Made in Thailand
- Product of China
Made in the USA
The FTC does NOT require country of origin labeling for U.S. manufactured goods with the exception of the following:
- Wool products
However, if you choose to label your product as “Made in the USA”, you must be able to prove that “all or virtually all of the product” is made in the USA, which implies that all significant parts and processing are made of U.S. and the product contains negligible foreign content.
CPSIA regulates all toys and children’s products sold in the United States including leather products for children. CPSC defines a children’s product as follow:
1. Whether the product is represented in its packaging, display, promotion, or advertising as appropriate for use by children 12 years of age or younger;
2. Whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger;
3. Children’s product defined by the Age Determination Guidelines
A third party testing is mandatory for children’s products to be sold in the United States, and the test must be done by CPSC accredited laboratories. You don’t necessarily need to know exactly what kind of ASTM standard or substance test applies, as the laboratory shall provide assistance for your products.
All leather children’s products must have tracking labels affixed to the product and its packaging. The tracking label shall include the information as below:
1. Manufacturers or private labelers name;
2. Location and date of production of the product;
3. Detailed information on the manufacturing process, such as a batch or run number, or other identifying characteristics;
4. Any other information to facilitate ascertaining the specific source of the product.
All tracking label information should be visible and legible to customers.
Children’s Product Certificate (CPC)
To comply with applicable children’s product safety rules, you will also need a written Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) based on test results from a CPSC accredited laboratory. The CPC shall include certain information such as below:
- List of applicable ASTM standards
- Product’s description
- Importer or manufacturer’s identification
- US mailing address
- Country of origin
- Lab testing report
California Proposition 65
The California Proposition 65 (CA Prop 65) requires importers or manufacturers to bear a warning label on their product if the product contains any chemical that can cause cancer or reproductive harm. Here are some chemical or substances listed under CA Prop 65:
- Leather dust
You can make a CA Prop65 test request to laboratories in order to assess compliance with the regulation when importing to California.
Here are some CA Prop 65 testing companies:
- Bureau Veritas
CA Prop 65 is applicable to all consumer products, including leather products. Unlike CPSIA, CA Prop 65 is also applicable to products primarily intended to adults, and not only children.
Failure to comply with the regulations can result in a “60-Day Notice” of non-compliance or “Notice of Violation”. This might cause several hundred thousand dollars of the settlement fees.