Guidelines for “Made In USA” Statements Issued By FTC
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued clear guidelines on the use of “Made in USA,” and statements with a similar connotation, in product labeling, advertising and marketing of products in the United States. The FTC is charged with preventing deception and unfairness in the marketplace, and has the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin.
Traditionally, the FTC has required that a product labeled “Made in USA” be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. After a comprehensive review of “Made in USA” and other U.S. origin claims in product advertising and labeling, the FTC announced in December 1997 that it would retain the “all or virtually all” standard. At that time, the FTC also issued an Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims to provide guidance to marketers who want to make an unqualified “Made in USA” claim under the “all or virtually all” standard and those who want to make a qualified “Made in USA” claim.
The FTC’s publication provides additional guidance about how to comply with the “all or virtually all” standard. It also offers general information about the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (“Customs”) requirement that all products of foreign origin imported into the U.S. be marked with the name of the country of origin.
The Tariff Act of 1930 gives Customs the authority to administer the legal requirement that imported goods be marked with their country of origin (for example, “Made in Japan”) provided for in Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 1304).
If You Suspect Fraud:
If you suspect a business or organization is defrauding consumers with misleading claims and/or outright false claims of the “Made in USA”, or “Product of USA” labeling on their products and/or advertising and marketing—don’t be afraid to report it. Not only is it the right thing to do, but, you may be entitled to a significant reward.
Your Protection as a “Whistle-blower”:
Privacy Protection: When reporting fraud, you do not need to disclose your identity unless you wish to. All information disclosed to the attorney representing you is subject to the attorney-client privilege, which means that it cannot be disclosed to any other party without your permission. You should therefore, only discuss this information with an attorney who is evaluating your case.