Senator Presses FTC to Enforce Consequences for Made in USA Labeling Violators

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) calls for the Federal Trade Agency to further deter false Made in USA claims during a Senate Commerce hearing on FTC oversight on Nov. 27. | C-Span

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito joins AAM in calling for tougher penalties.

Companies that deceptively market their products as Made in USA capitalize on the hard work of those committed to sustaining American manufacturing and the good-paying jobs the industry supports.   

Concerned by reports of this heinous form of fraud, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) recently pressed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to account for the lack of consequences in cases of false “Made in USA” labeling.

Earlier this year, the FTC found three companies had flouted the agency’s Made in USA labeling laws, but the agency did not impose any consequences for these companies.

“[Fraudulent Made in USA claims are] fairly prevalent,” said FTC Chairman Joseph Simons in response to Capito’s questioning during the Nov. 27 Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing. “We get hundreds of complaints a year that people are improperly using the ‘Made in USA’ label. We are committed to investigating those.”

Though the FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra called the labeling violations “brazen and deceitful,” naming these companies alone, as the agency has done, is insufficient to safeguard the integrity of the Made in USA label.  

With the aim of further disincentivizing Made in USA fraud, Simons stated that the FTC is evaluating how it might apply financial penalties.  

“As a general rule, we’ve only gotten injunctive relief in cases like this previously. But now we’re exploring whether we can find a good case that would be appropriate for monetary relief — to serve as an additional deterrent,” Simons said.

Chopra added that the impact of this deceptive marketing has ramifications beyond consumers.

“And for those who lie – this cheapens the ‘Made In USA’ label. So, it’s not just hurting American consumers; it’s hurting every American manufacturer who is trying to do right,” Chopra said. “I want us to be much more aggressive with this actually.”

These concerns echo that of Democratic Sens. Tommy Baldwin (Wis.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Chris Murphy (Conn.), who sent a letter to the FTC on Oct. 12 to advocate for greater labeling enforcement.

Unquestionably, it’s time for the FTC to defend American manufacturers and impose tougher penalties.

Join us in calling on the FTC to impose tougher rules and actual penalties on companies that cheat the system.