Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Proudly Made in the U.S.A.

When we buy products made in America we help to create or maintain American jobs and we have the assurance that the products we use were made under stringent health, safely, and environmental regulations. To many of us those words, "Made in U.S.A." are an important assurance of quality and commitment to American greatness. That's why it is so important and when a product is labeled "Made in U.S.A." that the claim be true

For most products, unless they are automobiles or items made from textile or wool (which have their own rules), there is no law requiring manufacturers and marketers to make a "Made in USA" claim. But if a business chooses to make the claim, the Federal Trade Commission's Made in USA standard applies. Made in USA means that "all or virtually all" the product has been made in America. That is, all significant parts, processing, and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. Products should not contain any – or should contain only negligible – foreign content.

The FTC takes seriously its mandate to protect consumers from fraudulent "Made in U.S.A." claims. For example, in 2016, the FTC sued a Georgia-based manufacturer of fast-acting glues. the FTC alleged that a significant proportion of the costs of the chemical inputs to the glues was attributable to imported chemicals. The company settled out of court. The settlement, which included a $220,000 financial remedy, required changes in how the company advertises its products. The order prohibited the company from making unqualified Made in U.S.A. claims for any product unless it can show that final assembly or processing -- and all significant processing -- take place in the United States, and that all or virtually all ingredients or components are made and sourced in the U.S.

Complying with the FTC rules can be complex and some manufacturers run afoul of the rules through ignorance, not the intent to deceive. I am pleased to announce that my company, Agathon Associates, has launched a new "Made in U.S.A. Certification" service. Manufacturers desiring to make a Made in U.S.A. claim can have me evaluate their manufacturing process and certify that under the FTC rules they can honestly say "Proudly Made in the U.S.A."

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