October 23, 2020

Government Relations Committee takes on counterfeits and domestic sourcing laws

Combating counterfeits.  Addressing new domestic sourcing laws.  The ISEA Government Relations Committee tackled these topics at their Oct. 7 meeting.  The group formed two ad hoc subcommittees to respond to these issue areas.

The ad hoc anti-counterfeiting group met on Oct. 21 to set a plan of action including:

Drafting a position statement that will also include PPE-specific background on the topic. The group agreed Congress must fund import enforcement agencies to their authorized amount.  This will be made clear in our statement.  The group reviewed a range of pending anti-counterfeiting legislation, and it will make recommendations for ISEA’s support.  

Two bills rose to the top:

  • Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency Act (PACT Act), which has not yet been introduced, would remove the liability shield for on-line sellers that are informed of counterfeit/fake/fraudulent products on their websites but do not take quick action (press release)
  • Countering Online Harms Act (H.R. 6937), which would make investments in artificial intelligence to flag potential scams based on historical data of legitimate product offerings (press release)

ISEA is asking member companies to send in cases and examples of rip-offs and scams of their brands.  This request is in today’s ISEA newsletter.  We will post this information to educate end-users about how to spot scams and too-good-to-be-true PPE offerings.

Finally, the subcommittee agreed ISEA should comment on the USTR’s “Notorious Markets Report.”  This annual report lists both e-commerce platforms that are known to sell counterfeit goods and physical locations, generally shopping districts in countries around the world, known to sell fake goods.

If your company has examples of online and physical markets that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy or trademark counterfeiting that infringe on US intellectual property, please share them with and ISEA will file the comments.

You can send your comments to Dan Glucksman.  Please send them by 10/30 – next Friday.  The Federal Register notice for this report is here.  Last year’s report can be found here.

Standards issues in Mexico are rising up

Requirements of the USMCA and consumer protection campaign promises of the Obrador Government in Mexico are leading to a number of revised standards, new standards actions, and revoked exemptions from onerous standards, causing a number of compliance burdens and wide-spread consternation.

NMX-053 – Mexico’s Proposed Hearing Protection Standard

ISEA’s Hearing Protection Group members have been busy reviewing and commenting on NMX-053, Mexico’s proposed hearing protector standard that would measure and rate hearing protectors based on lab tests in Real Ear.  NMX-053 also seeks to establish a rating system for noise attenuation.  

The Group has concerns about this proposed standard because it includes parts of ISO 4869-6:2019 (Determination of sound attenuation of active noise reduction earmuffs), and parts of various ANSI standards on hearing protector testing. The result?  It would make it difficult for manufacturers to comply because extensive new testing would be required, with little benefit to end-users.  ISEA suggested the proposed standard should model only one of these existing standards.

At the time comments were due, NMX-053 committee chair resigned. ISEA members with operations in Mexico are volunteering employees to serve on this important committee to help respond to comments and write the new hearing protection device standard in Mexico.

Textile Labeling Requirements in Mexico; Implications for PPE

Similar to the sudden activity on hearing protection, NOM-004 (Mexican Official STANDARD NOM-004-SCFI-2006, Commercial information Labelling of textile products, items of clothing, accessories and household linen) is a labeling law applied to clothing and household textiles. Now, ISEA understands it is being applied to PPE including those with machine-made, non-woven textiles.

ISEA members discussed NOM-004 with Department of Commerce (DOC) International Trade Administration managers and the DOC Standards Attaché in Mexico City. ISEA asked for the Department’s help in keeping this NOM from including PPE.  Additional actions are being discussed.

If your company is hearing anything about NOM-004, please contact Dan Glucksman.

DOC investigation on public health manufacturing industrial base

This summer, the President issued Executive Order 13944, “Combating Public Health Emergencies and Strengthening National Security by Ensuring Essential Medicines, Medical Countermeasures, and Critical Inputs Are Made in the United States.” 

This Executive Order included two key provisions.

  • Commerce Department Report on Public Health Industrial Base
    One instructs the Commerce Department to submit a report to the White House, “describing any change in the status of the Public Health Industrial Base and recommending initiatives to strengthen the Public Health Industrial Base.”  This report, and the effort to draft it, may resemble the International Trade Commission’s efforts on its report: COVID-19 Related Goods: The U.S. Industry, Market, Trade, and Supply Chain Challenges.
  • Removing Countermeasures from International Trade Agreements
    E.O. 13944, Sec. 2(d) asks the FDA Commissioner to identify Medical Countermeasures, and more, for the USTR, who is tasked “to exclude coverage” of these items from Free Trade Agreements. ISEA understands FDA is creating this list.

More states write workplace COVID protection regulations

The State-plan states are moving forward with COVID-19 related emergency temporary standards. The first was Virginia.  Now, Michigan is moving forward with this type of law. 

From Michigan’s law:
“Personal protective equipment – employees in frequent or prolonged close contact with known or suspected cases of COVID-19 must be provided with and wear, at a minimum, an N95 respirator.”

Oregon and California are expected to issue COVID-19 emergency standards next. 

If you would like additional information of any of these items or other issues impacting your company, please contact me at dglucksman@safetyequipment.org or at 703-795-6064.