[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 33 (Wednesday, February 19, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 9442-9444]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03531]


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FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

16 CFR Part 423


Public Roundtable Analyzing Proposed Changes to the Trade 
Regulation Rule on Care Labeling of Textile Wearing Apparel and Certain 
Piece Goods as Amended

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.

ACTION: Notice announcing public roundtable and request for public 
comment.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Trade Commission (``FTC'' or ``Commission'') is 
holding a public roundtable relating to its September 20, 2012 proposed 
changes to the Care Labeling Rule. The roundtable will explore issues 
relating to professional wetcleaning, care symbols, the Rule's 
reasonable basis requirements, and other issues raised in comments 
received in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (``NPRM''). 
The roundtable originally scheduled on October 1, 2013 was cancelled 
due to the government shutdown.

DATES: The public roundtable will be held on March 28, 2014, from 9:15 
a.m. until 3:45 p.m., at the FTC's Satellite Building Conference 
Center, located at 601 New Jersey Avenue NW., Washington, DC. Requests 
to participate as a panelist must be received by February 28, 2014. Any 
written comments related to the agenda topics, the issues discussed by 
the panelists at the roundtable, or the issues raised in comments 
received in response to the NPRM must be received by April 11, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties may file a comment or a request to 
participate as a panelist electronically or on paper by following the 
instructions in the Filing Comments and Requests to Participate as a 
Panelist part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write 
``Care Labeling Rule, 16 CFR part 423, Comment, Project No. R511915'' 
on your comment and ``Care Labeling Rule, 16 CFR part 423, Request to 
Participate, Project No. R511915'' on your request to participate as a 
panelist. File your comment online at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/carelabelingruleroundtable by following 
the instructions on the web-based form. File your request to 
participate as a panelist by email to: carelabelingroundtable@ftc.gov. 
If you prefer to file your comment or request on paper, mail or deliver 
it to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the 
Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex M), 600

[[Page 9443]]

Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert M. Frisby, Attorney, 202-326-
2098, or Amanda B. Kostner, Attorney, 202-326-2880, Federal Trade 
Commission, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 600 
Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The Rule prohibits manufacturers and importers from selling textile 
wearing apparel and certain piece goods without attaching labels 
stating the care needed for their ordinary use.\1\ Manufacturers and 
importers must possess, prior to sale, a reasonable basis for these 
care instructions \2\ and can use approved care symbols to disclose 
those instructions.\3\
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    \1\ 16 CFR 423.5 and 423.6(a) and (b).
    \2\ 16 CFR 423.6(c).
    \3\ The Rule provides that the symbol system developed by ASTM 
International, formerly the American Society for Testing and 
Materials, and designated as ASTM Standard D5489-96c ``Guide to Care 
Symbols for Care Instructions on Consumer Textile Products'' may be 
used on care labels or care instructions in lieu of terms so long as 
the symbols fulfill the requirements of Part 423. 16 CFR 423.8(g).
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    As part of its ongoing regulatory review program, the Commission 
published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (``ANPR'') in July 
2011 seeking comment on: The economic impact of, and the continuing 
need for, the Rule; the benefits of the Rule to consumers; and the 
burdens the Rule places on businesses.\4\ The ANPR also sought comment 
on whether and how the Rule should address professional wetcleaning and 
updated industry standards regarding the use of care symbols. The 
Commission received 120 comments in response.\5\
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    \4\ 76 FR 41148 (July 13, 2011).
    \5\ The comments are posted at http://www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments/initiative-384.
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    After reviewing these comments, the Commission published a Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking (``NPRM'') proposing four amendments.\6\ The 
Commission proposed to: (1) Permit manufacturers and importers to 
provide a care instruction for professional wetcleaning on labels if 
the garment can be professionally wetcleaned; (2) Permit manufacturers 
and importers to use the symbol system set forth in either ASTM 
Standard D5489-07, ``Standard Guide for Care Symbols for Care 
Instructions on Textile Products,'' or ISO 3758:2005(E), ``Textiles--
Care labelling code using symbols''; (3) Clarify what constitutes a 
reasonable basis for care instructions; and (4) Update the definition 
of ``dryclean'' to reflect current practices and technology. The 
Commission received 87 comments in response,\7\ including one 
requesting an opportunity to present views orally at a workshop or 
hearing \8\ and several urging the Commission to hold a hearing or 
workshop \9\ or requesting more time to file comments on the proposed 
amendments.\10\ Most of the comments favoring a workshop or hearing or 
more time to comment also urged the Commission to amend the Rule to 
require a wetcleaning instruction rather than merely permit one. 
Accordingly, the Commission will conduct a roundtable \11\ to provide 
interested parties with an opportunity to present their views orally 
pursuant to the procedures set forth in the NPRM.\12\
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    \6\ 77 FR 58338 (September 20, 2012).
    \7\ The comments are posted at http://www.ftc.gov/policy/public-comments/initiative-451. The Commission has assigned each comment a 
number appearing after the name of the commenter and the date of 
submission. This notice cites comments using the last name of the 
individual submitter or the name of the organization, followed by 
the number assigned by the Commission.
    \8\ Sinsheimer, UCLA Sustainable Technology & Policy Program 
(87).
    \9\ Huie (80); Miele (72 and 76); Professional Wet Cleaners 
Association (59); Sung (74); and Toxic Use Reduction Institute (54).
    \10\ European Union (67); Huie (80); and Professional Wet 
Cleaners Association (59).
    \11\ The NPRM noted the possibility of holding a workshop; 
however, the Commission has decided to describe this event as a 
roundtable to encourage discussion.
    \12\ 77 FR at 58338-339.
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    The Commission originally scheduled this roundtable on October 1, 
2013; \13\ however, it was cancelled due to the government shutdown. 
Persons selected to participate as panelists in the cancelled 
roundtable should submit a new request if they wish to participate in 
the March 28 roundtable. Similarly, the Commission requests that 
persons who preregistered for the cancelled roundtable register or the 
March 28 roundtable if they plan to attend. You van find more 
information about the roundtable at http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/event-calendar/2014/03/care-labeling-rule-ftc-roundtable.
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    \13\ 78 FR 45901 (July 30, 2013).
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II. Issues for Discussion at the Roundtable

    The roundtable will focus on the proposed amendment permitting a 
wetcleaning instruction and comments urging the Commission to require a 
wetcleaning instruction. The wetcleaning discussion also will address: 
(1) The cost of substantiating wetcleaning instructions; (2) The 
availability of wetcleaning services; (3) Consumer awareness of 
wetcleaning; and (4) The content of labels providing a wetcleaning 
instruction (e.g., instructing ``professionally wetclean'' versus 
``wetclean'').
    The roundtable also will explore issues relating to the use of care 
symbols and the Commission's proposal to clarify the Rule's reasonable 
basis requirements. These discussions will address: (1) The differences 
between ASTM and ISO symbols and between the 2005 and 2012 ISO symbols; 
(2) Whether to require that labels identify ISO symbols if used to 
comply with the Rule; (3) The change in the meaning of the circle P 
symbol in the ASTM system; (4) The absence of ASTM and ISO symbols for 
solvents other than perchloroethylene (``perc'') and petroleum; (5) 
Consumer understanding of symbols; and (6) How to clarify the Rule's 
reasonable basis requirements.\14\ In addition, the roundtable will 
provide participants with an opportunity to discuss other issues raised 
by comments. A more detailed agenda will be published at a later date, 
in advance of the scheduled roundtable. In the interim, the Commission 
is particularly interested in receiving relevant consumer perception 
evidence.
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    \14\ See, e.g., GreenEarth Cleaning (41).
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III. Public Participation Information

A. Registration Information

    The roundtable is open to the public, and there is no fee for 
attendance. For admittance to the Conference Center, all attendees must 
show valid government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's 
license. Pre-registration is not necessary to attend, but is encouraged 
so that staff may better plan this event. To pre-register, please email 
your name and affiliation to carelabelingroundtable@ftc.gov. When you 
pre-register, the FTC collects your name, affiliation, and email 
address. We will use this information to estimate how many people will 
attend and better understand the likely audience for the roundtable, 
and will dispose of it following the roundtable. We may use your email 
address to contact you with information about the roundtable. The FTC 
Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of 
this contact information to consider and use for the above purposes. 
Under the Freedom of Information Act or other laws, we may be required 
to disclose the information you provide to outside organizations. For 
additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy 
Act, see the Commission's privacy policy at http://www.ftc.gov/site-information/privacy-policy.

[[Page 9444]]

B. Requests To Participate as a Panelist

    The roundtable will consist of roundtable discussions by panelists 
selected by the FTC staff. Other attendees will have an opportunity to 
comment and ask questions. The Commission will place a transcript of 
the proceeding on the public record. Requests to participate as a 
panelist must be received on or before February 28, 2014, as explained 
in Section IV below. Persons selected as panelists will be notified on 
or before March 14, 2014.

C. Electronic and Paper Comments

    The submission of comments is not required for participation in the 
roundtable. If a person wishes to submit paper or electronic comments 
about the topics to be discussed at the roundtable or issues raised in 
the comments filed in response to the NPRM, such comments should be 
filed as prescribed in Section IV, and must be received on or before 
April 11, 2014.

IV. Filing Comments and Requests To Participate as a Panelist

    You can file a comment or request to participate in the roundtable 
as a panelist online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your 
comment, we must receive it on or before April 11, 2014. Write ``Care 
Labeling Rule, 16 CFR part 423, Comment, Project No. R511915'' on your 
comment and ``Care Labeling Rule, 16 CFR part 423, Request to 
Participate, Project No. R511915'' on your request to participate. 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 does not 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, do not 
include any ``[t]rade secret or any commercial or financial information 
which is . . . is privileged or confidential,'' as discussed 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).\15\ 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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    \15\ 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/carelabelingruleroundtable, by following the instruction on the 
web-based form. If this Notice appears at http://www.regulations.gov/#!home, you also may file a comment through that Web site.
    Requests to participate as a panelist at the roundtable should be 
submitted electronically to carelabelingroundtable@ftc.gov, or, if 
mailed, should be submitted in the manner detailed below. Parties are 
asked to include in their requests a brief statement setting forth 
their expertise in or knowledge of the issues on which the roundtable 
will focus as well as their contact information, including a phone 
number, facsimile number, and email address (if available), to enable 
the FTC to notify them if they are selected.
    If you file your comment or request on paper, write ``Care Labeling 
Rule, 16 CFR part 423, Comment, Project No. R511915'' on your comment 
and on the envelope and ``Care Labeling Rule, 16 CFR part 423, Request 
to Participate, Project No. R511915,'' on your request and on the 
envelope, and mail or deliver it to the following address: Federal 
Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex M), 600 
Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20580. If possible, submit your 
paper comment or request to the Commission by courier or overnight 
service.
    Visit the Commission Web site at http://www.ftc.gov to read this 
Notice 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 April 11, 2014. The Commission will consider 
all timely requests to participate as a panelist in the roundtable that 
it receives by February 28, 2014. You can find more information, 
including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, in the 
Commission's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/site-information/privacy-policy. 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 Care 
Labeling Rule or the roundtable agenda. The Commission requests that 
comments provide factual data, such as consumer perception evidence, 
upon which the commenters' proposals or views are based.

V. Communications to Commissioners and Commissioner Advisors by Outside 
Parties

    Pursuant to Commission Rule 1.18(c)(1), the Commission has 
determined that communications with respect to the merits of this 
proceeding from any outside party to any Commissioner or Commissioner 
advisor shall be subject to the following treatment. Written 
communications and summaries or transcripts of oral communications 
shall be placed on the rulemaking record if the communication is 
received before the end of the staff report comment period. They shall 
be placed on the public record if the communication is received later. 
Unless the outside party making an oral communication is a member of 
Congress, such communications are permitted only if advance notice is 
published in the Weekly Calendar and Notice of ``Sunshine'' 
Meetings.\16\
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    \16\ See 15 U.S.C. 57a(i)(2)(A); 16 CFR 1.18(c).

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2014-03531 Filed 2-18-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P