FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
ANNOUNCEMENT OF DATES FOR PUBLIC WORKSHOP REGARDING "MADE IN USA" CLAIMS IN PRODUCT ADVERTISING AND LABELING AND PROCEDURE FOR REQUESTING TO PARTICIPATE
AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission
ACTION: Announcement of dates for public workshop on the use of "Made in USA" claims in product advertising and labeling and procedures for requesting to participate.
SUMMARY: On October 18, 1995 the Federal Trade Commission (Commissioner Roscoe B. Starek, III dissenting) published a Federal Register Notice seeking public comments through January 16, 1996 in connection with its comprehensive review of consumers' perceptions of "Made in USA" claims in product advertising and labeling. As part of this review, the Commission announced that it would invite representatives of consumers, industry, government agencies, and other groups to attend a public workshop to exchange views on the issues, including those raised by the comments received. Among other things, in its review the Commission will be considering (i) whether it should alter its legal standard regarding the use of unqualified "Made in USA" claims, and (ii) how domestic content should be measured under any future standard.
The Commission has scheduled the workshop for March 26 - 27, 1996 at its headquarters at Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. If necessary to accommodate the number of issues raised by the comments, the workshop may be continued
through March 28. Today's Federal Register Notice discusses, among other matters, the procedure to be followed by those who wish to participate in the workshop. The Commission also announces that it will hold the record of this proceeding open for approximately one month (until April 30, 1996) for workshop participants and other interested parties to submit clarifying or rebuttal comments on the issues discussed at the workshop.
DATES: Requests to participate in the workshop must be submitted on or before January 16, 1996.
ADDRESSES: Six paper copies of each request to participate should be submitted to the Office of the Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, Room 159, Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Requests should include the requester's telephone number and a FAX number if available. Requests should be captioned: "Made in USA Workshop - Request to Participate," FTC File No. P894219. You may include this request with your comment.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Easton, Special Assistant, Division of Enforcement, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580, telephone 202-326-2823.
The October 18, 1995 Federal Register Notice (60 FR 53922, hereafter referred to as the "first Notice") announced the public workshop and requested comment on a number of specific questions relating to advertising and labeling claims of "Made in USA." The first Notice described in detail the substance of the issues to be discussed at the workshop and the issues on which written comments were requested. The first Notice, however, left open the specific dates and location for the workshop. This second Notice addresses these matters, as well as the procedure for requesting the opportunity to participate.
As stated in the first Notice, the intent of the workshop will not be to achieve a consensus among participants, or between participants and Commission staff, with regard to any issue raised in this proceeding. However, the Commission will consider the views and suggestions made during the workshop, in addition to any written comments, in formulating its future policy regarding "Made in USA" claims.
B. The Workshop
The Commission expects the workshop to be conducted over two days, with separate morning and afternoon panels on each day. A third day of the workshop will be held if there is a need to do so. The subjects to be discussed at each of the panels will be determined after reviewing the substantive comments received pursuant to the first Notice. An agenda for each panel will be announced as soon as practical. The workshop will be open to the public.
As mentioned in the first Notice, the Commission is currently conducting a consumer research project regarding consumer perception of "Made in USA" claims. Results of the project will be made available to participants and the public before the workshop. Participants who wish to discuss the consumer perception study at the workshop will be asked to submit an outline or short statement of their views prior to the workshop for the purpose of arranging the workshop's agenda. Others who wish to submit comments on the study are welcome to do so.
The record of the proceeding will be open for a month after the workshop is concluded for the receipt of any additional comments on the study or other issues discussed at the workshop. This will allow workshop participants and others to clarify any views expressed at the workshop or to rebut the comments and views of others in the event that there is insufficient time to fully address all pertinent issues.
A neutral, third-party facilitator may be retained for the public workshop. The discussion during the workshop will be transcribed and the transcript will be placed on the public record.
C. Selection of Workshop Participants
If the number of parties who request to participate in the workshop is so large that including all requesters would inhibit effective discussion among the participants, Commission staff will select as participants a limited number of parties to represent the interests of those who submit written comments. Selection will be based on the following criteria:
- The party must have submitted a substantive written comment by January 16, 1996 in response to the first Federal Register Notice (60 FR 53922, Oct. 18, 1995).
- The party must have submitted a request to participate pursuant to this Federal Register Notice by January 16, 1996.
- The party's attendance would promote the representation of a balance of interests at the conference.
- The party's attendance would promote the consideration and discussion of the issues presented in the workshop.
- The party has expertise in issues raised in the workshop.
- The party adequately reflects the views of the affected interest(s) which it purports to represent.
- The party has been designated by one or more interested parties (who timely file requests to participate and written comments) as a party who shares group interests with the designator(s).
- The number of parties selected will not be so large as to inhibit effective discussion among them.
If it is necessary to limit the number of participants, those not selected to participate, but who submit both requests to participate and written comments, will be afforded an opportunity, if at all possible, at the end of one or more sessions to present statements during a limited time period. The time allotted for these statements will be based on the amount of time necessary for discussion of the issues by the selected parties, and on the number of persons who wish to make statements.
Requesters will be notified as soon as possible after January 16, 1996 if they have been selected to participate. To assist in making this notification, please include in your request to participate a telephone number and a FAX number if available.
D. Date, Time and Location of Workshop
The workshop is scheduled to be held in room 432 of the FTC headquarters building, Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. on March 26 and 27, 1996, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Depending on the number of issues raised by the comments, the workshop may be extended through an additional day, March 28, 1996. The workshop is open to the public.
E. Procedure for Requesting Opportunity to Participate in Workshop
To be eligible to participate at the workshop, you must:
- File a written substantive comment by January 16, 1996 pursuant to the first Federal Register Notice.
- File a written request to participate by January 16, 1996 pursuant to this Federal Register Notice.
You may combine the written substantive comment and the written request to participate in one document.
Authority: 15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.
By direction of the Commission, Commissioner Starek dissenting.
Donald S. Clark