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CPSC Passes Pilot E-Filing System for Imported Consumer Products

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted Wednesday to approve a pilot that will require importers to electronically file information about the origin and compliance history of consumer goods manufactured outside of the United States.

CPSC commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of the test program, which will start sometime after July 2016 and run for roughly six months. It’s intended to give regulators fast, centralized access to five key data elements that would allow them to step up surveillance efforts and more accurately target noncompliant and unsafe items prior to importation.

Under the system, importers will be required to either file the data elements of entry or file a reference to data stored in a registry maintained by the CPSC. Those details are as follows:

• Identification of the finished product.
• Each consumer product safety rule to which the finished product has been certified.
• Country of origin including the name and address of the manufacturer.
• Parties on whose testing the certificate depends.
• A checkbox indicating that a required certificate currently exists for the finished product.

Wednesday’s outcome delayed the implementation of an earlier proposed rule to clarify certificate requirements after industry groups argued it would fundamentally alter liability and commercial relationships between retailers and their private-label suppliers.

While Kathleen McGuigan, senior vice president for legal and regulatory affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Assocation (RILA), applauded the CPSC’s decision, she urged the CPSC to develop a Trusted Trade program for low-risk importers and eliminate e-filing requirements for exempt products. “These recommendations, if implemented, would significantly reduce the costs and administrative burdens of the e-filing pilot on retailers,” she said in a statement.