AFTA™ is working to maintain the confidentiality of your proprietary supply chain information

A businesses’ supply chains reflects its own creation of a proprietary network including  different companies located throughout the World that produce, handle and/or distribute  a specific product or products to a common end user.  AFTA™ members have unique and confidential supply chains enabling U.S. consumers to purchase authentic, brand name, competitively priced merchandise at retail outlets of all genre and variety throughout the Country.  These supply chains are proprietary trade secrets that protect a businesses’ ability to compete fairly and better level out a highly aggressive and competitive global marketplace.

Maintaining the confidentiality of U.S. businesses’ supply chain information is critical to the viability of a thriving, competitive domestic marketplace.  However, within weeks of the new Congress, H.R. 236, the “Foreign Counterfeit Merchandise Prevention Act” was introduced by Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX).  This bill mirrors one of the same name introduced but not passed during the last Congress and its primary purpose is to provide Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the authority to provide an importer’s  proprietary supply chain information to unrelated brand owners having no ownership interests in or to the goods being entered.

A copy of H.R 236 as introduced on January 6, 2015 can be found here: H.R. 236

As a result of an Interim Rule issued in April 2012 and currently being practiced, if a shipment is detained at a U.S. port of entry because a Port Inspector suspects it may be include merchandise bearing a countefeit trademark, before providing a brand owner with any unredacted product samples that may  include markings identifying the importer’s confidential  supply chain partners, the Port Inspector must first give the importer  7 days to prove the merchandise is not counterfeit.  H.R 236 eliminates any such need for CBP to consult with the importer before consulting with the rights owner, which necessarily threatens the confidential nature of an importer’s carefully developed,  and proprietary, supply chain information.

A copy of the Interim Rule can be found here: cbpinterimrulecbpinterimrule

AFTA™ continues to work to make sure its members’ confidential business information is protected.  AFTA™ also  remains committed to ensuring that the U.S.’ commitment to facilitate  global trade does not unfairly favor the “wish lists” of multinational corporations at the risk of smaller businesses and to the detriment of U.S.  consumers.  To learn more about  AFTA™’s efforts to protect the rights of importers and ensure a balanced, competitive, and fair domestic marketplace, please contact us directly at afta@aftaus.com.