In record short time and with the support of the whole political spectrum, new legislation was recently passed by the Italian Parliament for the protection of the “Made in Italy” appellation.

Under this new legislation all “Made in Italy” finished and “intermediate” textiles, leather and footwear products offered for sale, must bear a compulsory label certifying compliance with Italian work practices and rules, health and safety legislation, exclusion of minors` exploitation and compliance with European environmental rules.

Products may only be labelled “Made in Italy” if they are mostly produced in Italy, that is, if at least two phases of the relevant production process have been carried in Italy. Production processes include:

a) in textiles: spinning, weaving, finishing and packaging, and this applies to natural fibers, artificial and synthetic imports.

b) in the leather sector: tanning, cutting, preparation, assembly and finishing including imported raw hides,

c) in the footwear sector: tanning, processing of the upper assembly and finishing, even if using imported raw hides.

The new compulsory labels must also show where each production phase was carried out and enable their “tracking”. Textile products extend to accessories, furnishing and furniture.

Where the product offered for sale does not qualify as “Made in Italy“, the compulsory label must show the country of origin in compliance with European legislation.

The actual detail of the new label regulations will be ironed out in Ministerial Decrees to be issued within four months, after this new legislation has been notified to the European Commission, and has been considered both by the Commission and the other Member States, under the applicable Directive.

These provisions are heavily sanctioned .

Where an individual is in breach, fines range between Euro 10,000 and Euro 50,000, subject to a discretional, further increase of up to 2/3 of these amounts. Where there are repeated breaches of this legislation, the sanction is imprisonment for a term ranging between one and three years.

Where a commercial enterprise is involved, fines range between Euro 30,000 and Euro 70,000 with the discretional, further increase of up to 2/3 of these amounts. Where breaches are reiterated, the offending commercial concern can be suspended, and prevented from carrying out any commercial activity for a period ranging between a month to one year.

This new legislation will only came into force on the 1st October 2010, to ensure that the prior approval of the European Commission is obtained.

Claudio Del Giudice

09.04.2010 – Copyrights reserved