FTC: Made In The USA Comments Concerning The Made in USA Coalition--P894219
MADE IN USA COALITION
Consumers, business, and labor working to keep the "Made in USA" label simple, honest, and American
Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
August 8, 1997
Federal Trade Commission
Re: "Made in USA Policy Comment," FTC File No. P894219
The Made in USA Coalition, comprised of the consumer groups, labor unions, businesses and business groups, and agriculture organizations listed below, wishes to register strong opposition to the Commission's proposed "Guides for the Use of U.S. Origin Claims." We believe that the current "all or virtually all" standard for the use of the "Made in USA" label should be retained.
We agree with the more than 140 Republican and Democratic Members of the U.S. Congress who have cosponsored House Concurrent Resolution 80 that, in the words of this legislation, "lowering this standard will be a misrepresentation to consumers in the United States who presently believe products bearing the 'Made in USA' label were all or virtually all made in the United States."
Given our strong agreement with the sentiments of these U.S. Representatives in opposition to your proposed guidelines, we request that the following be entered into the record to formally accompany this correspondence:
Additional information concerning the growing opposition of the American people to any weakening of the "Made in USA" label is available via the Internet at www.usamade.org.
Thank you very much for considering the views of the Made in USA Coalition on this very important issue.
James T. Sims David L. Flory
Text of H. Con. Res. 80
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. Franks of New Jersey (for himself, MR. DINGBLL, MR. PAPPAS, MR. FEYTINGILJYSBN, MR. LoBioEo, MR. SMITH of New Jersey, MR. SAXTON, MR. ANDRBWS, MR. BROWN of Ohio, MR. MILLBR of California, MR. KILDBB, MR. TRAFICANT, MR. PASCRBLL, MR. TAYLOR of North Carolina, and MRs. ROuKBMA) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Commerce.
Whereas for the past several decades the "Made in USA" label has defined a product as having all or virtually all of its parts and labor originating in the United States;
Whereas the people of the United States depend upon the integrity of this label when purchasing products;
Whereas the label projects a sense of pride for American workmanship and value;
Whereas the Federal Trade Commission has promulgated regulations to lower this standard to allow substantial amounts of a product to be of foreign origin;
Where as lowering this standard will be a misrepresentation to consumers in the United States who presently believe products bearing the "Made in USA" label were all or virtually all made in the United States;
Whereas consumers in the United States are entitled to purchase products with the understanding that the labels on these products reflect consistent definitions; and
Whereas the Federal Trade Commission is responsible for safeguarding the consumer from unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practices: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),
That the Congress:
CONGRESSIONAL COSPONSORS OF H. CON. RES. 80
Relating to maintaining the current standard behind the "Made in USA" label, in order to protect consumers and jobs in the United States:
CONGRESS SPEAKS OUT!
Against The FTC's Proposed "Made in USA" Guidelines
More than 140 Republican and Democratic Members of the U.S. Congress have now cosponsored legislation opposing the Federal Trade Commission's proposed guidelines regarding the use of the "Made in USA" label. At a news conference held on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, July 30, Members from both parties spoke out strongly against the FTC's plan and urged the Commission to retain the current and traditional standard for the use of the "Made in USA" label. Below are some excerpts from these U.S. Representatives' remarks.
TRANSCRIPT OF REMARKS
Made At A Capitol Hill Press Conference On The "Made in USA" Label Issue Rayburn House Office Building
July 30 1997
Comments of U.S. Rep. Bob Franks (R-NJ):
Good afternoon. I'm here today with a group of my colleagues to announce that 135 Members of the House have now joined in co-sponsoring House Concurrent Resolution 80. A bill to preserve the current "Made in USA" standard. We represent consumers from across America who value the "Made in USA" label as a symbol of pride and quality in American workmanship.
This afternoon I'd like to direct my remarks directly to the Federal agency responsible for enforcing the "Made in USA" standard, The Federal Trade Commission. I would tell them that for 50 years American consumers have trusted the "Made in USA" label. It assures them that the products that they are purchasing are actually manufactured in an American plant, using American parts, and made by American workers. For consumers the label is more than just a useful piece of information. It is often the deciding factor in whether they select one product versus another.
It's sad, that the very agency charged with upholding truth in advertising is now attempting to pull a fast one on American consumers. If your proposal is implemented, consumers will lose confidence in the "Made in USA" symbol. The label that now represents pride in American workmanship could soon become a Government sanctioned license to mislead consumers.
In the halls of Congress, as well as in Statehouses across the country, opposition to changing this standard is growing. Fifteen State Attorneys General have joined us in protesting your proposal. Those Attorneys General believes that your changes would leave consumers in the dark, unable to discern whether all or merely part of a product was made in the USA.
When people buy products that are made in the USA. They are doing so because they want the quality and reliability of American products, and they want to support American jobs. They don't expect that 25 percent of a product carrying the label "Made in the USA" was actually made in another country.
In fact, a 1991 study by the FTC itself found that nearly 80 percent of consumers believe that "Made in the USA" means that the product was made all or almost all right here in America. Not only will consumers lose out if this new definition goes into effect, but so will those manufacturers and their employees who pride themselves on making goods that are truly made in the USA. A watered down standard could actually have devastating consequences. It could serve to entice those company that now meet the current standards to move some of their operations overseas where they could still attach "Made in the USA" to their foreign made products, that is simply unacceptable.
On behalf of our 135 House co-sponsors, who represent over 80 million American consumers, we urge you to scrap your proposal to lower the "Made in the USA" standard. To make any changes to this well known and reliable label would undermine confidence in a symbol that consumers have trusted for over half a century.
Comments of U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI):
Thank you, Bob. And thank you my colleagues and friends. I think the members who were up there talking about the need for the FTC to be truthful deserve a round of applause, and I want to hear it. I want to thank you all for being here. I have here a couple of very fine wrenches that were made in the USA and they have that proud label, "Made in the USA." They're not 10 percent or 15 percent or 25 percent or 75 percent, they are all -- virtually all made in the United States. It's a standard that we've had for better than 50 years. It's worked wonderfully well and it's told all the people in the United States the truth.
You know, the FTC has not mentioned and I want to commend the (indiscernible) for reading this and I want to commend my colleagues here for what it is they do. In terms of seeing to it that the FTC insists that American consumers are told the truth. You know, it is not good enough for the FTC to require that the truth be a 75 percent item. I learned at the knees of my Jesuit teachers that truth is absolute, and it's not something with which you can play games.
But we're here to say to the FTC and everybody else, we like "Made in USA." We like having the American people know whether it's made in the USA. We think the American people want to know whether it's made in the USA. We think American workers are proud of their product, and American manufacturers are proud of what they do.
We think American consumers want to buy what's made in the USA. We think that Americans whether they manufacture or whether they work, or whether they buy want to know it's made in the USA. It's a proud label, let's be proud of it, let's tell the truth, and let's ask that the FTC also insists that they sell the truth. Lying or lying a little bit is no acceptable. "Made in USA" should stay as it is.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH):
I'm Ralph Regula of Ohio, a great manufacturing state and we take great pride in our products that are made in our state, and we want to keep it honest. We want the American consumer to know that these products are made in the United States of America and not 25 percent or whatever it might be somewhere else.
This is the appropriation bill that has been passed out of the full committee that finances the Federal Trade Commission. Now 100 percent of their salaries comes from tax dollars from American workers and American citizens, and therefore we want to have it honest that the products are 100 percent American if they're going to be labeled. And in this bill there are words directing them to not change the labeling requirements. We're saying to the FTC in this bill that we want you to keep at 100 percent USA and keep it honest so that it's -- when it has that label on it means just that and that the American consumer can rely on its government to tell them the truth, to keep it honest.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY):
Thank you. I'm Carolyn Maloney from New York and first I'd like to thank all my colleagues, in particular Congressman Dingell and Franks for leading this. The "Made in the USA" emblem is more than a label, it's a badge. American workers believe that it is earned, and that it's not be negotiated away or diluted away in any way. "Made in the USA" has been used well as a marketing tool. People who shop for that label are looking to support the American workers. They understand that their investment means more than a bicycle, a sweater, or a mower. It means that blue collar workers will keep their jobs, provide for their families, and contribute to the nations economy.
The proposal by the Federal Trade Commission to allow products with up to 25 percent foreign content to carry the "Made in the USA" label will undermine the trust of the consumer, it will undermine truth in labeling, it will undermine truth in advertising. And worst of all, it will encourage manufacturers do exactly what the "Made in USA" label is designed to prevent.
Corporations will be more likely to move their operations overseas.
In essence, if the FTC proposal is adopted people will be duped into believing they are investing in American workers, but in reality they are sending those jobs to other countries. Just continue to tell the truth to American consumers and force corporations to step up to their standards. Thank you.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Tom Barrett (D-WI):
I'm Tom Barrett of Wisconsin and I'm proud to be here with members from both sides of the aisle, from all parts of the country. And we're all here because we want the FTC to tell the truth. I meant what I said, I said what I meant, it's made in the US 100 percent. There is no reason to change the rules, the rules works. It tells people the truth and we expect the Government to tell the truth. That's why we expect the FTC to keep us honest.
Manufacturers use "Made in the USA" because it has a value. The value is there are millions of citizens in this country who want products that are made in this country, and they want to know where their products are made. To allow the Government to sanction manufacturers to somehow dilute this message is wrong. And it encourages manufacturers who have tried to play by the rules, who have made their products in the United States to try to skimp on cost and move their jobs out of this country. What we expect the FTC to do is to keep it honest and to tell the American people the truth. Let's keep it 100 percent so that the American people know exactly what they're buying. Thank you.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (R-NJ):
I'm Mark Foley from Florida's 16th District and I want to urge support of this amendment, and tell the FTC, would they serve their children milk that said it has 75 percent milk and 25 percent other ingredients, you wouldn't. You'd want to be protecting your family's health. This is a very, very important issue for all American workers.
Now some of us have supported NAFTA, yes, some of us haven't. But it's about time we take back our responsibility as members of the United States Congress, elected by our citizens to protect something sacred in this country, and that's the rights to proclaim the USA products the best in the world. Let's not give up our heritage, let's not give up our jobs, let's not give up our workers, and be proud of this country. I, unfortunately, attended a Flag Day celebration in Florida and they were all waving flags and I grabbed one of them and it said, "Made in China" and I thought to myself, my God, they were successful in the last election.
Let me just say to you, ladies and gentlemen, the United States of America is a great country, the greatest on earth. Let's be proud of products and let's tell the FTC, unless you want your initials to be the International Trade Commission, ITC, get with the program, support the Federal Government, and the United States workers.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland (D-OH):
Contrary to what you think, my name is Ted Strickland from the 6th District of Ohio and not Rocky Balboa. The fact is, these boxing gloves have a small label on them. They say, "Made in USA." That gives us confidence that they were made in the USA. Now my message is simple, as representatives of the people, we've got a responsibility and our responsibility is to fight for jobs, fight for American workers, and fight for American consumers, and that's what we intend to do and that's why we are here today. Thank you.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Frank Mascara (D-PA):
I'm Frank Mascara from Pennsylvania. It's great to be here this afternoon about a subject I feel very strong about. Coming from an area of the country that lost thousands, hundreds of thousands of jobs to foreign countries as a result of unfair trade practices, I'm appalled that the Federal Trade Commission is even thinking about allowing "Made in America" label product that includes any foreign components of labor. This is outrageous.
It's outrageous, it's about corporate greed, it's all about the dismantling of America. They left our shores to avoid paying a decent wage. They left our shores to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. They left our shores because we wouldn't let them pollute our air, our rivers, and our streams. Because it was easier and cheaper to drive down the standard of living of American workers, rather than drive up standard of living of workers in third world countries. It was easy to export their lousy working conditions in poverty stricken countries rather than fix the problems that existed at home. Now their greed drives them to suck the final piece out of the American work place by fooling consumers into thinking the product was made in the USA.
Damn right, "Made in the USA" label is a good marketing tool. The American worker is the best in the world. Corporate America knows it, the world knows it, corporate America wants it both ways. They want cheap labor, they want tax avoidance, they want to pollute our environment, but let us attach a label that our products are made in America, you can't and shouldn't have it both ways. If you want our good name attached to your products, come on back, then you will not have to defraud your consumers into believing your products were made in America.
Wake-up America, wake-up America. The symbiotic corporate money sucking economic traitors are trying to put another nail in the American economic coffin. It's time to speak up for fair trade. Say no to the FTC. Shame, shame, shame on the FTC for playing in the hands of those who are using our good label to market their goods. Thank you very much and I'm delighted to be here.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL):
I'm Danny Davis from the State of Illinois. Illinois is a great manufacturing state, it's also a great labor state. We believe that people ought to be able to work and at the same time earn a livable wage. We don't want to see jobs taken away to other countries, reducing the opportunities for people in America to work. Therefore, I'm proud to stand with the other 134 m Members who have signed onto this legislation and I look forward to another 234 joining up.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT):
I'm Congressman Bernie Sanders and I just want to say two things. First, we all want you to enjoy Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream which was made in the State of Vermont, USA, 100 percent. And the second point that I want to make is that one of the great crises facing this country is the decline of wages that working people are receiving.
People today are working longer hours for lower wages. And one of the reasons that wages are going down is the companies are busy running to China and Vietnam and hiring people at .20 cents an hour and then throwing American workers out on the street. And we think that if a product is made in the United States, it should be labeled, made in the United States. And if the product is manufactured in China, let it say, manufactured in China. So our position is that if it's made in the United States, that's how it should be labeled and let's pass this legislation. Thank you.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA):
I'm Leonard Boswell from Iowa and I'm here to represent small manufacturers. We're known in Iowa for our farming and agriculture production, but across our state we have many manufacturers who make good products. I've got one here made by Lyle Corporation (phonetic sp.) Clarinda, Iowa. It's a system holder for overhauling small engines. Just think of all the different little pieces and parts that are involved in this little tool. It's a precise tool. It's made in the USA, it says right here. It can be gotten from the Lyle Corporation, Clarinda, Iowa. If you want to buy this brand, X brand for what FTC is talking about, this comes from a foreign entity, they can bring in all these little different parts and pieces and put them together and then put down here, made in the USA. What a tragedy on American workers and manufacturers.
I say, if says "Made in the USA," make sure it means something. When we buy something, all of you listening here today, and it says "Made in the USA," you expect it to be done so. Let's keep it that way. FTC wake-up.
Comments of U.S. Rep. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI):
My name is Debbie Stabenow. I'm also here from the great State of Michigan and I'm proud to be here with my senior Member, Mr. John Dingell, as well as my colleagues. The message today is very simple, "Made in America" is a reward you get for investing in our country, that's the bottom line. If you hire American workers, if you produce an American product you get to have the label. If you don't, you don't, it's as simple as that. The FTC has no business trying to compromise on the basic principle of investment in America. FTC we don't support you. You've got a fight on your hands if you intend to proceed forward. Thank you.