Washington, D.C. — In a win for American manufacturers and workers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday approved a final rule to establish meaningful penalties for companies found to have purposely mislabeled imported products as “Made in USA.”
For years, companies that deceptively labeled their products as Made in America, when in actuality making them abroad, faced little-to-no consequences for misleading consumers. In many cases, they didn’t even have to admit fault.
This new rule will finally give the FTC the tools it needs to properly enforce Made in USA labeling guidelines and discourage future deception.
Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said:
“The ‘Made in USA’ label matters.
“U.S. consumers place great value in the label because of its embodiment of American values – including quality and knowing that their purchase will support American workers. In many cases, they are even willing to pay a premium for American-made.
“When wrongdoers making fraudulent claims go unpunished, it robs consumers of their spending dollars, and it hurts U.S. manufacturers who have invested in our nation. The Made in USA label isn’t a PR tool. It is a way to recognize the hard work and dedication required of American manufacturers and their employees who make their products in our local communities.
“The FTC’s application of more meaningful penalties for this egregious behavior is a victory for American manufacturers. It is especially timely as our nation emerges from the COVID pandemic. Giving consumers confidence in the ‘Made in USA’ label will encourage more companies to make their products here in America.
“FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, as well as his staff, deserve credit for championing this issue. We look forward to continuing work with the commission to help consumers make informed choices, including when shopping online.”
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has long advocated for stronger Made in USA enforcement, including by participating in a 2019 FTC workshop on the issue.
In 2014, AAM filed a petition with the FTC highlighting Element Electronics’ deceptive marketing of television sets; the company later altered its marketing.
The FTC also has identified several cases of false Made in USA labeling. In one case, for example, a company heavily marketed a hockey puck as American-made, even going so far as to call it the “Patriot Puck.” The FTC found that the puck was actually manufactured in China, but the lack of enforcement mechanisms at the time meant the company faced no financial penalties for the deception and did not have to admit fault.