WOOL SUIT FABRIC LABELING FAIRNESS AND INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS CONFORMING ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 19, 2006)
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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Madam Speaker, I do rise today in support of this legislation to update our wool labeling laws. I want to thank Chairman Barton, Ranking Member Dingell, as well as Chairman Stearns, for their help in bringing the legislation forward. I also want to thank and commend my friend from Illinois, the ranking member of the Commerce Trade and Consumer Protections Subcommittee, Representative Schakowsky, for joining me to sponsor the legislation.
The Wool Suit Fabric Labeling Fairness and International Standards Conforming Act will modernize the Wool Labeling Act by using the international definition of ``super'' as an identifier for the quality of wool products. We have written this legislation to protect consumers and industry participants from the mislabeling of certain suiting fabrics.
In recent years, many wool products at the wholesale and retail level, including worsted wool fabrics and apparel items, are being marketed and labeled as ``super 100,'' and ``super 120s,'' and so-called ``super'' grades. These refer to the fineness of the yarn contained in the product. The finer the average yard is in diameter, the higher the super's grade.
Higher super grades reflect products that are supposed to have higher yarns and therefore sold at higher prices. The Wool Labeling Act, which regulates the labeling of wool products in the United States, has not been amended to reflect the current marketing practice of using supers as an identifier for quality wool products.
The International Wool Textile Organization is the international body representing the interests of the world's wool textile industry, which includes the U.S., oversees the implementation of the International Wool Textile Arbitration Agreement. The IWTO has adopted a code of practice regarding the use of the term ``super'' on wool products, and the exact yarn diameter that each level of ``super'' must contain. Woolmark, a company that licenses the use of the Woolmark logo, has accepted the identical definition.
Modernization of the Wool Labeling Act has strong support, as my colleague mentioned. It is supported by the National Textile Association, Victor Forstman, UNITE, the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, Hartmarx, and Hickey Freeman on behalf of the Tailored Clothing Association.
As the domestic tailored clothing industry and wool textile mills continue to face significant challenges, this legislation is timely and it is vital to the continued health of this important manufacturing sector in the U.S. I urge my colleagues to support the legislation.