Business of Fashion

How “Made in USA” is Now a Lie

Made in America can now be a lie.
California now allows companies to tell consumers a ‘made in USA’ lie.

Made in USA certification changed into made almost fully in the USA

In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that allows California companies to claim “made in America” as long as their products are mostly made in America.

To comply with the “made in America” or “Made in USA” requirements, a product may now be identified as American made if it is at least 90 percent American-made.

Assemblyman Brian Jones, who co-wrote the legislation, said requiring that made-in-America products be completely made in America placed an “overly burdensome regulation” on California businesses.

Do you recall the Honest Company’s sunscreen problems? Can you now imagine them claiming American made on a baby bottle that is composed of 10% non-American goods?

Well, they technically can. The made in USA lie is not an issue unique to California.

Consumers throughout the U.S. may no longer be told if products contain foreign parts.

All other states already follow this weak made in USA standard previously laid down by the Federal Trade Commission.

This standard defines products as being made in America if “all or virtually all” the parts were produced in the United States. The only goods for which disclosure of country of origin is necessary are motor vehicles, textiles, wool, and fur.

California was once known for adhering to a strict made in USA standard.

California was the last state to require that goods claiming the American made mark were made only of American parts. By demanding a more strict standard than other states, California was making itself less attractive to manufacturers.

To consumers, made in USA or made in America labels carry great value: these labels signify high standards for consumer safety and product quality.

Given California’s money problems, it is not shocking that California is folding by following what other states already accepted.

Loosening the made in USA standard was the correct decision for California.

The previous 100 percent standard made it difficult for in-state manufacturers to apply the made in USA label. Thus, these manufacturers may have been unfairly judged against non-California manufacturers who could have gotten away with the made in USA label even if they produced products actually containing a lower percentage of American made content.

Although California’s new standard welcomes misleading information, the less stringent standard was necessary to keep California competitive.

The FTC is at fault for misleading the public.

California’s previously strict standard is ideal but only worthwhile if it had to be followed by all states.

The Federal Trade Commission should impose a stricter standard on all states.

To allow up to 10% of a product to not be made of American products, means that the FTC’s made in USA policy is dishonest.

Allowing a standard that perpetuates a lie should be unacceptable. For people who want to buy American it is increasingly difficult for them to rest assured that their products are actually made in the USA.

The FTC’s loose standards for its made in USA policy clearly favor manufacturers over consumers. This policy reflects a lenience towards businesses rather than promoting pure honesty to consumers.

Instead of protecting manufacturer’s profits, the FTC should do what it originally was created to do: prevent deceptive business practices.

If you are interested in purely American made products, visit AmericansWorking.com, MadeInUSAChallenge.com, and MadeInTheUSA.com.

If you are a business owner, be aware that customs and border protection have different labeling requirements. Be sure to read the requirements for country of origin marking on goods imported into the U.S.

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