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FTC Looks at 'Made in USA' Ad Claims

The Federal Trade Commission is holding a workshop Thursday (Sept. 26) on how it should treat variations on the "Made in America" advertising claim and how consumers view them.

Promoting 'Made in America' products has been a major policy goal of the Trump Administration.

There are a host of such claims, from "Made in the USA" to “Made in USA with Imported Content,” “Assembled in USA,” and “50% Made in USA."

Among the things the FTC wants to learn is how consumers interpret those various claims, whether their perception depends on the product. For example, do they view that claim about a shovel in the same way they do a smart phone, the FTC said.

Other questions it is looking for answers to include:

1. "When consumers see product advertisements or labels stating or implying that products are “Made in USA” or the equivalent, what amount of U.S. parts and labor do they assume are in the products? Does this vary by product? Please provide any supporting studies, data, or other evidence."

2. "What are the costs and benefits of strictly enforcing an “all or virtually all” threshold for unqualified “Made in USA” claims?"

3. "Do firms that advertise their products as “Made in USA” charge higher prices than their competitors whose products are not advertised in this way?"


4. "What remedies should the FTC seek against companies that make deceptive “Made in USA” claims?"

Currently, the FCC holds that "when a marketer makes an unqualified claim that a product is 'Made in USA,' it should, at the time the representation is made, possess and rely upon a reasonable basis that the product is in fact all or virtually all made in the United States." By contrast, the FTC says "where a product is not all or virtually all made in the United States, any claim of U.S. origin should be adequately qualified to avoid consumer deception about the presence or amount of foreign content."