EPCA’s Non-Tariff Barrier.
CBP adopts a new regulation – 19 C.F.R. § 12.50 – to help its sister agencies FTC and DOE bring Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) mandate to U.S. borders. Now CBP has regulatory framework to see if certain products are labeled and manufactured in compliance with EPCA. Now, if CBP finds that importer does not follow FTC and DOE EPCA recommendations, that product will be refused admission into the United States.
Obvious questions that follow include:
- What are these certain products?
- What are manufacturing standards?
- What are the labeling requirements?
Before this inquiry is made, establishment of basic jurisdictional responsibilities between FTC, DOE, and CBP may probably help. Basically, DOE is responsible for technical side of EPCA standards for “certain” appliances. FTC’s responsibility mainly pertains to labeling requirements of DOE’s EPCA standards. CBP responsibility is to see that FTC and DOE rules in fact apply to imports.
According to the DOE’s Building Technologies Office, there are over 50 products that have EPCA standards. The list is broken down into (1) residential products, (2) commercial and industrial products, (3) lightning products, and (4) pluming products. But, if an importer finds that no standards – according to DOE – are applicable to its product, such as Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lamps, this is not the end of the inquiry.
Labeling portion of the FTC, may prescribe labeling standards for those products, not specifically listed by DOE. Using the LED example, FTC has “Energy Labeling Rule,” which requires labeling for LED lamps.
LED example shows that both DOE and FTC views should be consulted. Since the labeling portion is by far easier to enforce than technical standards portion (upon simple visual examination by CBP officer on-site), it is helpful for importers to rely on the same source of information that CBP officers would rely on (at least in part): FTC’s Label Templates.
Note on Certain Products.
Certain products covered by EPCA include:
- Automatic Commercial Ice Makers
- Battery Chargers and External Power Supplies
- Ceiling Fan Light Kits
- Ceiling fans
- Central Air Conditioners
- Certain Lamps
- Clothes washers,
- Commercial and Industrial Compressors
- Commercial and Industrial Fans and Blowers
- Commercial and Industrial Pumps
- Commercial Clothes Washers
- Commercial Package Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
- Commercial Packaged Boilers
- Commercial Prerinse Spray Valves
- Commercial Refrigeration Equipment
- Commercial Warm Air Furnaces
- Commercial Water Heating Equipment
- Computer Room Air Conditioners
- Distribution Transformers
- Electric Motors
- Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts
- General Service Fluorescent Lamps
- General Service Incandescent Lamps
- Heat Pumps
- High-Intensity Discharge Lamps
- Illuminated Exit Signs
- Incandescent Reflector Lamps
- Light Bulbs
- Light Emitting Diode Lamps
- Medium Base Compact Fluorescent Lamps
- Metal Halide Lamp Fixtures
- Microwave Ovens
- Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
- pool heaters,
- Refrigerated Beverage Vending Machines
- Residential Ceiling Fans
- Residential Clothes Dryers
- Residential Clothes Washers
- Residential Dehumidifiers
- Residential Direct Heating Equipment
- Residential Dishwashers
- Residential Furnace Fans
- Residential Furnaces and Boilers
- Residential Kitchen Ranges and Ovens
- Residential Pool Heaters
- Residential Refrigerators and Freezers
- Residential Room Air Conditioners
- Residential Water Heaters
- Room air conditioners
- Set-Top Boxes
- Single Package Vertical Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
- Small Electric Motors
- Traffic Signal Modules and Pedestrian Modules
- Unit Heaters
- Walk-In Coolers and Walk-In Freezers
- Water Closets (Flush Toilets)
- Water heaters