The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking public comment on the “Made in USA” claim and other unqualified U.S.-origin claims on product labels. The FTC’s statutory authority allows it to pursue enforcement actions to prevent unfair and deceptive “Made in USA” and other U.S.-origin claims. According to the notice, the FTC held a public workshop and collected public comments in support of a review of unqualified labeling claims. The FTC noted that many participants at the workshop stated that a federal rule “could have a strong deterrent effect against unlawful [“Made in USA”] claims without imposing new burdens on law-abiding companies.”
This NPRM is intended to cover labels on products that make unqualified U.S.-origin claims. If implemented, it would prohibit marketers and advertisers from including unqualified claims on labels unless:
- Final assembly or processing of the product occurs in the United States,
- all significant processing that goes into the product occurs in the United States, and
- all or virtually all ingredients or components of the product are made and sourced in the United States.
The proposed draft definition of “Made in USA” would mean “any unqualified representation, express or implied, that a product or service, or a specified component thereof, is of U.S. origin, including, but not limited to, a representation that such product or service is ‘made,’ ‘manufactured,’ ‘built,’ ‘produced,’ ‘created,’ or ‘crafted’ in the United States or in America, or any other unqualified U.S.-origin claim.”
The NPRM also covers labels making unqualified “Made in USA” claims appearing in mail order catalogs or mail order advertising. In order to avoid confusion or perceived conflict with other country-of-origin labeling laws and regulations, the NPRM specifies that it does not supersede, alter, or affect any other federal or state statute or regulation relating to country-of-origin labels, except to the extent that a state country-of-origin statute, regulation, order, or interpretation is inconsistent with the NPRM.
Interested parties may file comments until September 14, 2020, by filing online via the Federal ePortal at www.regulations.gov and searching for Docket No. FTC-2020-0056-0001, or via hard copy to the Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex C), Washington, DC 20580, and noting “MUSA Rulemaking, Matter No. P074204” on the envelope and in the comments.