With "voluntary" marking and labelling practices, there are standards and limitations that apply. These include rules regarding "Made in USA" labelling, the use of trademarks or trade names, other labelling, and restrictions on the use of false statements or misleading product descriptions on packaging and labelling. These could result in civil litigation, administrative enforcement proceedings, and potential monetary damage awards or settlements under state and federal deceptive advertising statutes.
The use of "counterfeit" trademarks or tradenames is prohibited by U.S. legislation, which can ban certain branding and labelling on goods intended for export. According to 18 U.S. Code 2320, "trafficking in goods or services and knowingly employs a counterfeit mark on or in connection with such goods or services," it is unlawful to "trade in goods or services and uses a counterfeit mark on or in connection with such goods or services." This counterfeit merchandise would be considered to be contraband that cannot be legally sold, and the Act allows for harsh civil and criminal penalties. The term "traffic" refers to both imports and exports.
There is a prevalent misconception that there are no U.S.-based laws or limits on labelling or labelling when products are otherwise intended for export. Some exporters think it is acceptable to make marking or labelling claims on their products that are obviously false. An illustration of this is labelling products with "Made in USA" on them even though they include 100% imported goods and haven't been further processed there. This kind of marking would be in violation of the majority of the free trade agreements that the United States has in place regarding marking requirements, and it would also raise questions regarding the documentation required by the United States Census Bureau, which asks exporters to declare whether their goods are "foreign" or "domestic." Essentially an exporter would need to mis-declare the merchandise as "domestic" for its product labeling to match its "Made in USA" claims, and thus be in violation of U.S. Census bureau requirements.
Exports may also be subject to additional regulations, such as those relating to specific consumer products that have labelling specifications. A law that has precise labelling requirements is the Flammable Fabrics Act (FAA - 15 U.S. Code 1193; 16 CFR Part 1615). According to the Act, "any product, fabric, or similar material that fails to adhere to an applicable standard or regulation shall not be sold or offered for sale in commerce." The law defines "commerce" as "commerce with foreign countries or among the numerous States." Therefore, any infractions involving sales outside of the United States can result in enforcement of all FAA standards, including labelling requirements.
Packaging provides following benefits to the goods to be exported:
- Packaging offers physical defence against shock, vibration, temperature, moisture, and dust.
- Agglomeration or containment - Packaging allows for the efficient and economical aggregation of tiny items into a single box. For instance, it is preferable to pack 1000 pencils into one box as opposed to 1000 boxes for each individual pencil.
- Marketing: Proper and appealing packaging is crucial in enticing a potential customer.
- Convenience - Packages may include components that make them easier to distribute, handle, display, sell, open, use, and reuse.
- Security - Packaging can be very helpful in lowering the security risks associated with shipping. Additionally, it offers authentication seals to show that the box and its contents are genuine. Additionally, packages may contain anti-theft devices that must be deactivated using specialist equipment, such as dye-packs, RFID tags, or electronic article surveillance tags. These devices can be activated or detected by equipment at exit points. Loss prevention techniques like this one involve the use of packaging.
Labelling must be done with the same attention as packaging. It is crucial for an exporter to be knowledgeable about all types of signs and symbols and to adhere to all national and international norms when employing them. English should be used for labelling, and terms designating the country of origin should be as large and noticeable as any other English text.
For labelling purposes, a quick dye is preferable. For labelling, only quick dyes should be utilised. The most important information should be in black, while the less important information should be in colours like red, orange, and so on. Only safe colours should be used for food packed in sacks, and the dye shouldn't pass through the packing in a way that affects the products. Even though many of the mandatory marking requirements for goods sold and imported into the United States do not apply to goods that are exported, compliant exporters will take steps to ensure that marking and labelling on their products contain accurate and substantiated information, particularly with regard to trademarks and product origin, and that all U.S. labelling requirements related to consumer protection laws are met, as these can have extra-territorial applicability and enforcement.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.