Government Affairs

Government Updating Guide on “Green” Advertising Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
is updating its “Green Guides,” which are intended to help marketers
avoid misleading environmental claims. The Guides were first issued in
1992 but have not been revised since 1998. The Guides cover: 1)
general principles that apply to all environmental marketing claims; 2)
consumer perception of claims and marketing substantiation of claims;
and 3) avoiding consumer deception.

Regulation to Restrict Imported Collector Vehicles in Wisconsin Put on Hold

A Wisconsin-proposed regulation to prohibit the registration of certain
imported collector vehicles has been put on hold. Members of the
Senate Transportation Committee voted by ballot to send the proposed
rule, Trans 123, back to the Department of Transportation for revisions
due to the vocal opposition of Wisconsin enthusiast groups, including
members of the SEMA Action Network (SAN). Under an agreement reached with department
officials, the rule will not be resubmitted but will be considered by
lawmakers in the 2011 legislative session. The measure threatened to
prohibit the registration of imported vehicles manufactured after 1967
that did not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).

What You Need to Know When Pursuing a Patent Infringement Case

Many SEMA members have secured design or utility patents from the U.S.
Patent & Trademark Office only to discover that their patented
product is being infringed by imports. If litigation is ultimately
necessary to combat the problem, there are two possible forums in which
to pursue a grievance, the U.S. International Trade Commission and a
federal district court. Each forum has advantages and disadvantages.

California Adopts Goals for Reducing Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted goals to reduce
carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and other greenhouse gases from cars and
light trucks in 18 urban areas around the state. While the goals are
nonbinding, local jurisdictions will need to demonstrate a likelihood
of success in order to take advantage of other incentives, such as
streamlined permitting for development projects.

SEMA Applauds Passage of Small-Business Lending Bill

SEMA praised the United States Senate for passing the “Small Business
Jobs and Credit Act” (HR 5297). The bill will be signed into law by
President Obama pending imminent ratification by the House of
Representatives.

The legislation creates a $30 billion fund to provide banks with less
than $10 billion in assets access to capital to lend specifically to
small businesses while providing tax incentives to encourage business
development. In addition, the bill includes $12 billion in tax cuts and
stronger government loan guarantees.

New York Joins List of States Banning Lead Wheel Weights

As of April 1, 2011, it will be illegal to sell or install a wheel
weight in New York that contains lead. The state joins several others
that have enacted laws banning the manufacture, sale and use of lead
weights. California’s law went into effect on January 1, 2010.
Illinois, Maine, Vermont and Washington also ban the products while
Iowa, Maryland, Rhode Island and Wisconsin have considered a ban.

Cast Your Vote for SEMA PAC

This year’s mid-term elections are the most anticipated in recent
memory. Last week, SEMA provided a complete list of voter
registration/absentee ballot forms for all 50 states (click here to
find your state and to vote early). We also encourage SEMA members to
become engaged by supporting SEMA Political Action Committee (PAC). This election stands to be one
of the most important in many years with the potential to deliver
historic results. The balance of power in Washington is currently in
question, and without the active participation of SEMA members, our
industry will miss the opportunity to raise our voice and make a
noticeable impact.

Wisconsin Proposes to Restrict Registration of Imported Collector Cars

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has proposed a new
regulation (Chapter Trans 123) to prohibit the registration of imported
vehicles manufactured after 1967 that do not meet Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standards (FMVSS). U.S. law specifically exempts imported
vehicles that are 25 years old and older from these safety standards.
Trans 123 offers no such reasonable exemption.

Federal Government Pursues Unfair Trade Practices

The U.S. Department of Commerce unveiled 14 proposals to strengthen the
enforcement of U.S. trade laws. The measures would focus on illegal
import practices from non-market economies by tightening U.S. rules
governing antidumping (AD) and countervailing duties (CVD). “Dumping”
is when a manufacturer(s) in one country exports a product to another
country at a price that is below its production costs or the price
charged in its home market.  “Countervailing duties” are imposed when
an investigation finds that a foreign country is subsidizing its
exports and injuring the importing country’s domestic producers. The
Commerce Department initiated 34 AD/CVD investigations in 2009 compared
to 19 the previous year.

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