The apparel sectors in the US and Canada are ripe for regulatory alignment, according to the countries’ leading sector trade associations.

In responding to a request for comments on regulatory harmonisation from the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), the Canada Apparel Federation (CAF) and the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) cite a number of claimed anomalies.

These include labelling requirements identifying the maker or seller of the apparel, which are applied using the RN or WPL standard in the US, and the CN standard in Canada.

The two organisations argue that maintaining two separate systems is costly to the industry and government alike, and call for the two to be merged, or at least for mutual recognition of the two systems.

They also highlight differences in the rules governing the labelling claim of 'Made in the US/Canada', particularly with regard to the use of imported materials.

“We believe that indicating the presence of imported materials should be sufficient, and that the country of origin of the imported materials is not needed,” the organisations say.

Another area of concern is the harmonisation of flammability requirements, which currently require separate tests for the US and Canada, often in the same lab.

“Harmonising or providing mutual recognition of these test methods and regulatory provisions would result in an immediate halving of testing costs,” the organisations say. 

Bob Kirke, executive director of CAF, and Kevin Burke, president and CEO of AAFA, add: “As a general note, we believe our sector is ripe for regulatory alignment.

“While we highlight a number of diverse issues, each concern impairs our industry’s competitiveness and adds additional costs to consumers.

“When taken together, they result in a substantial burden to our economies.”