[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 118 (Wednesday, June 19, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36693-36698]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-14671]


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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

16 CFR Part 301

RIN 3084-AB27


Rules and Regulations Under the Fur Products Labeling Act

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission (``FTC'' or ``Commission'').

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: To promote consistency between the guaranty provisions in its 
Rules and Regulations under the Fur Products Labeling Act and those 
governing textile products, the Commission proposes amendments 
clarifying a signature requirement for separate guaranties and 
requiring guarantors to renew continuing guaranties annually.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before July 23, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties may file a comment online or on paper by 
following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write ``Fur Rules Review, 16 
CFR Part 301, Project No. P074201'' on your comment, and file your 
comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/furproductslabelingnprm by following the instructions on the web-based 
form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, mail or deliver your 
comment to

[[Page 36694]]

the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the 
Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex O), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., 
Washington, DC 20580.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew J. Wilshire, Attorney, (202) 
326-2976, Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of 
Consumer Protection, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    On April 30, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (``FTC'' or 
``Commission'') issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (``Textile 
NRPM'') announcing proposed amendments to its Rules and Regulations 
(``Textile Rules'') under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act 
(``Textile Act''). Among other things, the proposed changes would alter 
the form for continuing guaranties filed with the Commission and 
require annual renewal of such guaranties. Both the Textile and the Fur 
Products Labeling Act (``Fur Act'') provide exemptions from liability 
for retailers and other recipients of covered products based on 
certifications that the transferred products are not misbranded, 
falsely invoiced, or falsely advertised.
    On September 17, 2012, the Commission proposed amendments to the 
Fur Rules to update the Fur Products Name Guide, provide greater 
labeling flexibility, and incorporate provisions of the recently 
enacted Truth in Fur Labeling Act. Since that proposal, the Commission 
proposed altering the textile guaranty provisions in the Textile NPRM. 
In addition, one commenter has urged changes to the fur guaranty 
provisions. The Commission, therefore, now proposes additional guaranty 
amendments for the Fur Rules to provide notice and an opportunity to 
comment on this proposal while the Commission considers comments 
received in response to the changes it proposed in 2012. Doing so will 
allow the Commission to incorporate any guaranty final amendments in 
conjunction with any other final amendments, and thereby assist 
businesses in understanding their compliance obligations under the 
revised rules.
    This document provides information on guaranties, explains the 
proposed amendments, solicits additional comment, provides analyses 
under the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Paperwork Reduction Act, 
and sets forth the Commission's proposed amendments.

II. Background

    The Fur Act, Textile Act, and Wool Products Labeling Act (``Wool 
Act'') \1\ each shield from liability entities that obtain guaranties 
from third parties. These guaranties attest that the transferred 
products are not mislabeled or falsely advertised or invoiced. There 
are two types of guaranties. Separate guaranties designate particular 
products.\2\ Continuing guaranties, which guarantors file with the 
Commission, apply to any textile, wool, or fur product transferred from 
a particular guarantor.\3\ Each act further provides that guaranty 
protections are available only for entities that receive a guaranty in 
``good faith'' from a ``person residing in the United States.'' \4\
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    \1\ 15 U.S.C. 69 et seq. (Fur Act); 15 U.S.C. 70 et seq. 
(Textile Act); 15 U.S.C. 68 et seq. (Wool Act). The Fur Rules are 
codified at 16 CFR Part 301, the Textile Rules are codified at 16 
CFR Part 303, and the Wool Rules are codified at 16 CFR Part 300.
    \2\ 15 U.S.C. 68g(a); 15 U.S.C. 69h(a); 15 U.S.C. 70h(a).
    \3\ Id.
    \4\ Id.
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    Entities providing continuing guaranties for fur products must file 
those guaranties with the Commission using the form specified in the 
Textile Rules at 16 CFR 303.38(b).\5\ Continuing guaranties remain in 
effect until revoked.\6\
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    \5\ 15 U.S.C. 69h(a)(2).
    \6\ 16 CFR 301.48(a)(2).
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III. Proposed Amendments

    In response to the Commission's September 17, 2012, proposed 
amendments (``Fur NPRM''),\7\ the National Retail Federation (``NRF'') 
submitted a comment recommending revisions to the guaranty provisions. 
Specifically, NRF supported changes allowing entities to provide 
separate guaranties through electronic means, removing the penalty of 
perjury language from the continuing guaranty form, making the guaranty 
format ``suggested'' rather than ``prescribed,'' and adding a provision 
to extend guaranty protections to retailers that import goods directly 
and, therefore, cannot obtain a guaranty.\8\ NRF recommended making the 
same changes to the Textile Rules.\9\
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    \7\ Federal Trade Commission: Regulations Under the Fur Products 
Labeling Act, 77 FR 57043 (Sept. 17, 2012).
    \8\ National Retail Federation Comment 00025 at 1-5, 
available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/furrulesreview/index.shtm (hereinafter ``NRF at ----'').
    \9\ See National Retail Federation Comment 0020 to ``16 
CFR Part 303: Rules and Regulations Under the Textile Fiber Products 
Identification Act: Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and 
Request for Public Comment,'' available at http://ftc.gov/os/comments/textilerulesanpr/index.shtm.
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    On April 30, 2013, the Commission issued the Textile NPRM, which 
announced several proposed amendments to the rules governing 
guaranties.\10\ As detailed in that NPRM, the Commission proposed 
eliminating the penalty of perjury language in the required form for 
continuing guaranties and proposed requiring that guarantors renew 
continuing guaranties annually.
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    \10\ 78 FR 29263 (May 20, 2013).
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    In light of the proposed amendments to the Textile Rules, as well 
as NRF's comment, the Commission proposes conforming amendments to the 
Fur Rules. As explained below, the Commission declines to propose 
amendments specifically providing for electronic transmission of 
separate guaranties, and proposes that guarantors renew continuing 
guaranties annually. In addition, the Commission does not propose 
amendments regarding NRF's concerns about guaranty protections for 
retailers directly importing products because a recently announced 
Enforcement Policy Statement provides the requested protections.\11\
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    \11\ See Enforcement Policy Regarding Certain Imported Textile, 
Wool, and Fur Products at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/01/eps.shtm.
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A. Electronic Transmission of Separate Guaranties

    NRF urged the Commission to publish amendments explicitly providing 
for the electronic transmission of separate guaranties. Currently, 
section 301.47 provides a ``suggested form'' for such guaranties, which 
includes the guarantor's ``signature and address.'' \12\ Section 301.47 
does not provide guidance regarding what qualifies as a signature. NRF 
urged amending the Rules to specify that an order for apparel between a 
purchasing business' ``electronic agent,'' as that term is defined by 
the Uniform Commercial Code (``UCC''), and a guarantor will constitute 
a separate guaranty if the order is explicitly subject to the goods' 
conformance with the Fur Act and Rules.\13\ Notably, the ``electronic 
agent'' definition proposed by NRF provides that electronic acceptance 
can occur ``with or without review or action by an individual.'' \14\ 
NRF also urged that the Fur Rules ``clearly stat[e] how companies [can] 
comply with the regulations though electronic means,'' including the 
use of electronic signatures.\15\
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    \12\ 16 CFR 301.47.
    \13\ NRF at 2.
    \14\ NRF at 2.
    \15\ NRF at 3.
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    The Commission declines to propose amendments specifically 
addressing electronic transmittal of guaranties. The

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Fur Rules do not prohibit or discourage the electronic communication of 
guaranties, nor do they require any particular mode of communication. 
Instead, the Rules focus on the guaranties' substance. Furthermore, 
incorporating ``electronic agent'' as defined by the UCC could 
undermine compliance with the Rules. For example, incorporating the 
definition would permit guaranteeing of goods by ``a computer program 
or an electronic or other automated means.'' \16\ This would allow 
guaranties without any individual monitoring to ensure that the 
guaranteed products meet the legal requirements for guaranties. Indeed, 
it is unclear how a buyer receiving a guaranty in such circumstances 
could do so in good faith.
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    \16\ NRF at 2.
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    Moreover, NRF has not presented any evidence showing that the 
current Fur Rules impose significant costs on businesses or that making 
its recommended change would decrease those costs. The Rules appear to 
provide sufficient flexibility for compliance without providing 
specifically for ``electronic guaranties.'' Although the Commission is 
not proposing NRF's recommended amendment, the Commission seeks comment 
on this issue.
    The Commission proposes two amendments, however, to make clear that 
electronically transmitted guaranties are not prohibited. First, the 
Commission proposes, as it did in the Textile NPRM, changing the term 
``invoice'' in section 301.47 and the phrase ``invoice or other paper'' 
in section 301.48(b) to ``invoice or other document.'' The proposed 
change would make clear that ``invoice'' includes documents that are 
electronically stored or transmitted. Second, the Commission proposes 
amending section 301.47 to include, as the Textile Rules currently do, 
a statement that the guarantor's printed name and address will meet the 
signature component for separate guaranties.\17\ Specifically, the 
Commission proposes adding the following language to section 301.47: 
``Note: The printed name and address on the invoice or other document 
will suffice to meet the signature and address requirements.'' This 
additional language should make clear that entities can sign guaranties 
electronically, consistent with the Electronic Signatures in Global and 
National Commerce Act.\18\
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    \17\ Section 301.47 also differs from the Textile Guaranty 
provisions by requiring separate guaranties to show ``the date of 
shipment of the merchandise.'' 16 CFR 301.47. To promote consistency 
between guaranty provisions, the Commission proposes removing this 
requirement.
    \18\ 15 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.
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B. Continuing Guaranties

    Section 301.48 requires that guarantors use the prescribed form in 
16 CFR 303.38(b) for a continuing guaranty filed with the Commission. 
The current form requires the guarantor to sign the guaranty under 
penalty of perjury. NRF recommended making the guaranty form optional 
and eliminating the penalty-of-perjury requirement.\19\ Consistent with 
the Textile NPRM, the Commission declines to propose the first 
amendment, but proposes to require that guarantors certify guaranties 
rather than sign them under penalty of perjury.
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    \19\ NRF at 4-5.
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    NRF recommended making the continuing guaranty form optional to 
allow businesses to use electronic processes without the obligation to 
revert to paper documents and signatures.\20\ The Commission declines 
to propose this change because the prescribed form benefits businesses 
without imposing significant burdens. Requiring a uniform document 
enables the Commission to review, process, and return the guaranties 
expeditiously. Reviewing documents in varying formats to determine 
whether they qualify as guaranties would add needless delay.
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    \20\ NRF at 5.
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    In addition, requiring a specific form does not appear to inhibit 
electronic processes or cause any other burden. NRF did not present any 
evidence showing that businesses cannot adapt the prescribed form to 
electronic communications, including electronic signatures. Businesses 
may send the prescribed form electronically, and the Fur Rules allow 
electronic signatures.\21\ Moreover, the form is only one page and 
consists of a two-sentence certification and a signature block stating 
the date, location, and name of the business making the guaranty, as 
well as the name, title, and signature of the person signing the 
guaranty.
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    \21\ The word ``signature'' appears in the prescribed form for 
continuing guaranties filed with the Commission. That form does not 
require written signatures or prohibit electronic signatures.
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    NRF also recommended that the Commission eliminate the penalty of 
perjury language for continuing guaranties. It argued that requiring 
sworn statements inappropriately introduces the criminal elements of 
perjury into private contracts and that the person providing the 
attestation cannot attest to the truth of labels and invoices in the 
future.\22\
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    \22\ NRF at 3.
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    Although swearing under penalty of perjury in private agreements is 
not unusual,\23\ swearing to future events is problematic and may 
present enforcement issues. Specifically, many people who intend to 
comply with the Rules may be understandably reluctant to swear to a 
future event. Accordingly, in its Textile NPRM, the Commission proposed 
eliminating the penalty of perjury language. Because the Fur Rules 
incorporate the same form, the proposed Textile amendments would 
eliminate the penalty of perjury requirement for fur guaranties as 
well.
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    \23\ See J. Geils Band Employee Benefit Plan v. Smith Barney 
Shearson, Inc., 76 F.3d 1245 (1st Cir. 1996) (upholding summary 
judgment in part because appellant failed to rebut acknowledgment of 
receipt of investment prospectuses evidenced by an agreement 
executed under penalty of perjury).
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    Continuing guaranties, however, must provide sufficient indicia of 
reliability to permit buyers to rely on them on an ongoing basis. The 
perjury language addressed this concern. Therefore, instead of 
requiring guarantors to swear under penalty of perjury, the Textile 
NPRM proposed requiring guarantors to acknowledge that providing a 
false guaranty is unlawful; to certify that they will actively monitor 
and ensure compliance with the Fur, Textile, and Wool Acts and Rules; 
and to renew guaranties annually.
    As explained in the Textile NPRM, the new form should increase a 
guaranty's reliability by focusing the guarantor's attention on, and 
underscoring, its obligation to comply. However, the new form would not 
impose additional burdens on guarantors because they would simply be 
acknowledging the Fur Act's prohibition against false guaranties \24\ 
and certifying to the monitoring that they already must engage in to 
ensure that they do not provide false guaranties. In addition, the 
required statements would benefit recipients of guaranties by 
bolstering the basis of their good-faith reliance on the guaranties.
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    \24\ The Fur Act provides that furnishing a false guaranty is 
``unlawful, . . . [and] an unfair method of competition, and an 
unfair and deceptive act or practice'' under the FTC Act. 15 U.S.C. 
69h(b).
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    Additionally, requiring guarantors to renew guaranties annually 
provides needed assurance of reliability in the absence of a sworn 
statement. Annual renewal should encourage guarantors to take regular 
steps to ensure that they remain in compliance with the Fur Act and 
Rules and thereby increase the guaranties' reliability. Moreover, these 
benefits should outweigh the minimal burden of completing the one-page 
form. As discussed above, the form

[[Page 36696]]

consists of only a two-sentence certification and a signature block 
stating the date, location, and name of the business making the 
guaranty, as well as the certifier's name and title. Thus, businesses 
should not incur significant costs in completing and submitting the 
form annually. Although certifying also would require guarantors to 
confirm that their business remains in compliance, this would not 
impose any burden beyond what the Fur Rules currently require. 
Specifically, entities that have filed continuing guaranties must 
continuously monitor their shipments to ensure that they are complying 
with the Fur Act and Rules.\25\
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    \25\ See 16 CFR 303.38(b) (continuing guaranty form requiring 
sworn statement that guarantor will not ship mislabeled, falsely 
invoiced, or falsely advertised fur products).
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    Unlike changes to the continuing guaranty form, requiring annual 
renewal necessitates an amendment to the Fur Rules. Thus, the 
Commission proposes amending section 301.48(a)(2) to provide that 
continuing guaranties are valid for a year or until revoked.

C. Alternative to Fur Act Guaranty for Directly Imported Goods

    The Fur Act authorizes fur guaranties from persons ``residing in 
the United States by whom the fur product or fur guaranteed was 
manufactured or from whom it was received.'' \26\ Thus, businesses that 
buy from manufacturers or suppliers that have no representative in the 
United States cannot obtain a guaranty.
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    \26\ 15 U.S.C. 69h(a).
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    Because many retailers now regularly rely on global supply chains, 
NRF recommended that the Commission adopt an alternative guaranty for 
such businesses. Specifically, NRF recommended that the Commission 
allow such businesses to rely on compliance representations from 
foreign manufacturers or suppliers when: (1) The businesses do not 
embellish or misrepresent the representations; (2) the fur products are 
not sold as private label products; and (3) the businesses have no 
reason to know that the marketing or sale of the products would violate 
the Act or Rules.\27\
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    \27\ NRF at 5.
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    As discussed in the Textile NPRM, NRF's argument has merit. Changes 
in the clothing industry resulting in increased imports mean that more 
businesses cannot obtain guaranties. In light of the increased reliance 
on global supply chains for fur products, the Commission finds it in 
the public interest to provide protections for retailers that: (1) 
Cannot legally obtain a guaranty under the Fur Act; (2) do not 
embellish or misrepresent claims provided by the manufacturer related 
to the relevant Act or Rules; and (3) do not market the products as 
private label products; unless the retailers knew or should have known 
that the marketing or sale of the products would violate the Act or 
Rules. Such protections provide greater consistency for retailers 
regardless of whether they directly import products or use third-party 
domestic importers. Accordingly, on January 3, 2013, the Commission 
announced an enforcement policy statement providing that it will not 
bring enforcement actions against retailers that meet the above 
criteria.\28\ This statement addresses the concerns raised by NRF.\29\
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    \28\ See Enforcement Policy Regarding Certain Imported Textile, 
Wool, and Fur Products at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/01/eps.shtm.
    \29\ NRF requested an amendment to the Fur Rules. However, 
amending the Rules to allow foreign guaranties would be inconsistent 
with the Fur Act, which requires guarantors to ``resid[e] in the 
United States.'' 15 U.S.C. 69h.
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IV. Request for Comments

    You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to 
consider your comment, we must receive it on or before July 23, 2013. 
Write ``Fur Rules Review, 16 CFR Part 301, Project No. P074201'' on 
your comment. Your comment--including your name and your state--will be 
placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the 
extent practicable, on the public Commission Web site, at http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm. As a matter of discretion, the 
Commission tries to remove individuals' home contact information from 
comments before placing them on the Commission Web site.
    Because your comment will be made public, you are solely 
responsible for making sure that your comment doesn't include any 
sensitive personal information, such as anyone's Social Security 
number, date of birth, driver's license number or other state 
identification number or foreign country equivalent, passport number, 
financial account number, or credit or debit card number. You are also 
solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include 
any sensitive health information, such as medical records or other 
individually identifiable health information. In addition, don't 
include any ``[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information 
which is obtained from any person and which is privileged or 
confidential,'' as provided in Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 
46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). In particular, do 
not include competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales 
statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing 
processes, or customer names.
    If you want the Commission to give your comment confidential 
treatment, you must file it in paper form, with a request for 
confidential treatment, and you have to follow the procedure explained 
in FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).\30\ Your comment will be kept 
confidential only if the FTC General Counsel, in his or her sole 
discretion, grants your request in accordance with the law and the 
public interest.
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    \30\ In particular, the written request for confidential 
treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and 
legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions 
of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 
4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).
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    Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to 
heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit 
your comments online. To make sure that the Commission considers your 
online comment, you must file it at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/furproductslabelingnprm, by following the instruction on the web-
based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov, you 
also may file a comment through that Web site.
    If you file your comment on paper, write ``Fur Rules Review, 16 CFR 
Part 301, Project No. P074201'' on your comment and on the envelope, 
and mail or deliver it to the following address: Federal Trade 
Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex O), 600 
Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580. If possible, submit your 
paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.
    Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this 
NPRM and the news release describing it. The FTC Act and other laws 
that the Commission administers permit the collection of public 
comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. The 
Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments that 
it receives on or before July 23, 2013. You can find more information, 
including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in the 
Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.htm.
    The Commission invites members of the public to comment on any 
issues or concerns they believe are relevant or appropriate to the 
Commission's consideration of proposed amendments to the Fur Rules. The 
Commission requests that comments provide factual

[[Page 36697]]

data upon which they are based. In addition to the issues raised above, 
the Commission solicits public comment on the costs and benefits to 
industry members and consumers of each of the proposals as well as the 
specific questions identified below. These questions are designed to 
assist the public and should not be construed as a limitation on the 
issues on which public comment may be submitted.

Questions

    1. Do the Fur Rules and the proposed changes to the guaranty 
provisions in sections 301.47 and 301.48 provide sufficient flexibility 
for compliance using electronic transmittal of guaranties? If so, why 
and how? If not, why not?
    2. Should the Commission amend section 301.47 by changing the term 
``invoice'' to ``invoice or other document'' and removing ``the date of 
shipment of the merchandise''? If so, why? If not, why not?
    3. Should the Commission revise the proposed certification 
requirement for continuing guaranties provided by suppliers pursuant to 
section 301.48? If so, why and how? If not, why not?
    4. Should the Rules require those providing a continuing guaranty 
pursuant to section 301.48 to renew the certification annually or at 
some other interval? If so, why? If not, why not? To what extent would 
requiring guarantors to renew certifications annually increase costs? 
What benefits would requiring annual renewal provide?
    5. What evidence supports your answers?

V. Communications to Commissioners and Commissioner Advisors by Outside 
Parties

    Written communications and summaries or transcripts of oral 
communications respecting the merits of this proceeding from any 
outside party to any Commissioner or Commissioner's advisor will be 
placed on the public record.\31\
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    \31\ See 16 CFR 1.26(b)(5).
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VI. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (``RFA'') \32\ requires that the 
Commission conduct an analysis of the anticipated economic impact of 
the proposed amendments on small entities. The purpose of a regulatory 
flexibility analysis is to ensure that an agency considers the impacts 
on small entities and examines regulatory alternatives that could 
achieve the regulatory purpose while minimizing burdens on small 
entities. Section 605 of the RFA \33\ provides that such an analysis is 
not required if the agency head certifies that the regulatory action 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.
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    \32\ 5 U.S.C. 601-612.
    \33\ 5 U.S.C. 605.
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    The Commission believes that the proposed amendments would not have 
a significant economic impact upon small entities, although it may 
affect a substantial number of small businesses. The proposed 
amendments clarify and update the guaranty provisions of sections 
301.47 and 301.48 by, among other things, replacing the requirement 
that suppliers that provide a guaranty sign under penalty of perjury 
with a certification requirement for continuing guaranties that must be 
renewed every year.
    In the Commission's view, the proposed amendments should not have a 
significant or disproportionate impact on the costs of small entities 
that manufacture or import fur products. Therefore, based on available 
information, the Commission certifies that amending the Rules as 
proposed will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small businesses.
    Although the Commission certifies under the RFA that the proposed 
amendments would not, if promulgated, have a significant impact on a 
substantial number of small entities, the Commission has determined, 
nonetheless, that it is appropriate to publish an Initial Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis to inquire into the impact of the proposed 
amendments on small entities. Therefore, the Commission has prepared 
the following analysis:

A. Description of the Reasons That Action by the Agency Is Being Taken

    In response to public comments, the Commission proposes amending 
the Rules to update its fur guaranty provisions.

B. Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, the Proposed 
Amendments

    The objective of the proposed amendments is to clarify and update 
the Rules' guaranty provisions by, among other things, replacing the 
requirement that suppliers that provide a guaranty sign under penalty 
of perjury with an annually renewed certification. The Fur Act 
authorizes the Commission to implement its requirements through the 
issuance of rules.
    The proposed amendments would clarify and update the Fur Rules 
without imposing significant new burdens or additional costs. The 
proposal that continuing guaranty certifications expire after one year 
would likely impose minimal additional costs on businesses that choose 
to provide a guaranty. Providing a new continuing guaranty each year 
would likely entail minimal costs.

C. Small Entities to Which the Proposed Amendments Will Apply

    The Rules apply to various segments of the fur industry, including 
manufacturers and importers of furs and fur products. Under the Small 
Business Size Standards issued by the Small Business Administration, 
apparel manufacturers qualify as small businesses if they have 500 or 
fewer employees. Importers qualify as small businesses if they have 100 
or fewer employees. The Commission's staff has estimated that 
approximately 1,290 fur product manufacturers and importers are covered 
by the Rules' disclosure requirements.\34\ A substantial number of 
these entities likely qualify as small businesses. The Commission 
estimates that the proposed amendments will not have a significant 
impact on small businesses because they do not impose any significant 
new obligations on them. The Commission seeks comment and information 
with regard to the estimated number or nature of small business 
entities for which the proposed amendments would have a significant 
impact.
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    \34\ Federal Trade Commission: Agency Information Collection 
Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request, 7 FR 10744 
(Feb. 23, 2012).
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D. Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance 
Requirements, Including Classes of Covered Small Entities and 
Professional Skills Needed To Comply

    As explained earlier in this document, the proposed amendments 
would clarify and update the Rules' guaranty provisions by, among other 
things, replacing the requirement that suppliers that provide a 
guaranty sign under penalty of perjury with a certification requirement 
that must be renewed annually. The small entities potentially covered 
by these proposed amendments will include all such entities already 
subject to the existing Rules. The professional skills necessary for 
compliance with the Rules as modified by the proposed amendments would 
include clerical personnel to submit guaranties and keep records. The 
Commission invites comment and information on these issues.

[[Page 36698]]

E. Duplicative, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules

    The Commission has not identified any other federal statutes, 
rules, or policies that would duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the 
proposed amendments. The Commission invites comment and information on 
this issue.

F. Significant Alternatives to the Proposed Amendments

    The Commission has not proposed any specific small entity exemption 
or other significant alternatives, as the proposed amendments simply 
clarify and update the Rules' guaranty provisions by, among other 
things, replacing the requirement that suppliers that provide a 
guaranty sign under penalty of perjury with a certification 
requirement. Under these limited circumstances, the Commission does not 
believe a special exemption for small entities or significant 
compliance alternatives are necessary or appropriate to minimize the 
compliance burden, if any, on small entities while achieving the 
intended purposes of the proposed amendments. As discussed above, 
adopting NRF's proposed changes is unnecessary to allow electronic 
compliance with the Fur Rules.
    Nonetheless, the Commission seeks comment and information on the 
need, if any, for alternative compliance methods that would reduce the 
economic impact of the Fur Rules on small entities. If the comments 
filed in response to this document identify small entities that would 
be affected by the proposed amendments, as well as alternative methods 
of compliance that would reduce the economic impact of the proposed 
amendments on such entities, the Commission will consider the 
feasibility of such alternatives and determine whether they should be 
incorporated into the final Rules.

VII. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Rules contain various ``collection of information'' (e.g., 
disclosure and recordkeeping) requirements for which the Commission has 
obtained OMB clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act (``PRA'').\35\ 
As discussed above, the Commission proposes amending sections 301.47 
and 301.48 to clarify and update the Rules' guaranty provisions by, 
among other things, replacing the requirement that suppliers provide a 
guaranty signed under penalty of perjury with a certification 
requirement for continuing guaranties that must be renewed every year.
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    \35\ 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The Commission recently published 
its PRA burden estimates for the current information collection 
requirements under the Fur Rules. See Federal Trade Commission: 
Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; 
Comment Request, 76 FR 77230 (Dec. 12, 2011) and Federal Trade 
Commission: Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for 
OMB Review; Comment Request, 77 FR 10744 (Feb. 23, 2012). On March 
26, 2012, OMB granted clearance through March 31, 2015, for these 
requirements and the associated PRA burden estimates. The OMB 
control number is 3084-0101.
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    The proposed amendments to the guaranties would impose no 
additional collection of information requirements. The proposal that 
continuing guaranty certifications expire after one year would likely 
impose minimal additional costs on businesses that choose to provide a 
guaranty.

VIII. Proposed Rule

List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 301

    Furs, Labeling, Trade practices.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Trade 
Commission proposes to amend title 16, Chapter I, Subchapter C, of the 
Code of Federal Regulations, part 301, as follows:

PART 301--RULES AND REGULATIONS UNDER THE FUR PRODUCTS LABELING ACT

0
1. The authority citation for part 301 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 69 et seq.

0
2. Revise Sec.  301.47 to read as follows:


Sec.  301.47  Form of separate guaranty.

    The following is a suggested form of separate guaranty under 
section 10 of the Act which may be used by a guarantor residing in the 
United States, on and as part of an invoice or other document in which 
the merchandise covered is listed and specified and which shows the 
date of such document and the signature and address of the guarantor:
    We guarantee that the fur products or furs specified herein are not 
misbranded nor falsely nor deceptively advertised or invoiced under the 
provisions of the Fur Products Labeling Act and rules and regulations 
thereunder.

    Note:  The printed name and address on the invoice or other 
document will suffice to meet the signature and address 
requirements.

0
3. Amend Sec.  301.48 by revising paragraphs (a)(2) and (b) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  301.48  Continuing guaranty filed with Federal Trade Commission

    (a) * * *
    (2) Continuing guaranties filed with the Commission shall continue 
in effect for one year unless revoked earlier. The guarantor shall 
promptly report any change in business status to the Commission.
    * * *
    (b) Any person who has a continuing guaranty on file with the 
Commission may, during the effective dates of the guaranty, give notice 
of such fact by setting forth on the invoice or other document covering 
the marketing or handling of the product guaranteed the following: 
``Continuing guaranty under the Fur Products Labeling Act filed with 
the Federal Trade Commission.''
* * * * *

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2013-14671 Filed 6-18-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P