Is “Made in the USA” Really Made in the USA?
Which Federal Agency Regulates the “Made in the USA” Claim?
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “the Commission”) “is charged with preventing deception and unfairness in the marketplace. The FTC created an Act that would allow the Commission to bring legal action “against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin”.
When Can I Say Made in the USA?
- For a product to be considered as “Made in the USA” without qualification, that product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. How the Commission determines whether a product is “all or virtually all” made in the U.S., by looking at whether there was “a ‘reasonable basis’ to support the claim at the time it is made”. To prove the “reasonable basis” standard, a manufacturer or marketer must provide “competent and reliable evidence” to the FTC.
- A qualified Made in the USA claim must describe “the extent, amount or type of [its] domestic content or processing”. This allows the consumer to know “that the product isn’t entirely of domestic origin”. The FTC warns that qualified claims can be tricky, so it is best to “avoid qualified claims unless the product has a significant amount of U.S. content or U.S. processing”.
- Ex: “60% U.S. content. Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts. Couch assembled in USA from Italian Leather and Mexican Frame.”
- For a complete understanding of the FTC’s Made in the USA standard, take a look at “Complying with the MADE IN USA STANDARD”.