FTC: Made In The USA Comments Concerning James A. Traficant, Jr.--P894219
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, JR.
Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
The Honorable Donald Clark
Dear Secretary Clark:
I am writing in response to the Federal Trade Commission's new proposed standard for making unqualified "Made in the USA" claims. Let me preface my remarks by applauding the FTC for going the extra mile to ensure full participation in the decision-making process by the public, business and Members of Congress. I understand the many challenges facing the FTC in promulgating a standard that adequately reflects the global marketplace. It is not an easy task. However, I believe that the new proposed standard represents a significant weakening of the "all or virtually all" standard, and must voice my strong opposition.
The new proposed standard requires that for a product to be called "Made in the USA" it must be substantially all made in the U.S. The new proposed standard defines substantially all made in the U.S. if: 1) U.S. manufacturing costs are at least 75 percent of manufacturing costs and the product was last substantially transformed in the U.S.; or 2) the product was last substantially transformed in the U.S. and all significant parts or components of the product were last substantially transformed in the U.S.
On the surface, the new proposed standard seems to be a reasonable attempt to allow products made with a majority of American components to bear the "Made in the USA" label. However, it is not necessary to change the current standard in order to deal with products containing foreign parts or labor. The current standard does not preclude any manufacturer with such foreign content or involvement from choosing to advertize or label their products as "Made in USA" so long as they qualify that claim.
The historical test adopted by the FTC and Congress for unqualified "Made in USA" claims is, as it should be, rigorous, but it is not unfair. It should continue to be reserved for those products that can truthfully meet it. For those products that, as a result of globalization of production, include foreign components or labor, the FTC should continue to make available the alternative of a qualified "Made in USA" label.
The new proposed standard will cause the "Made in the USA" label to have less value to the manufacturers of products with labor and components of "all or virtually all" domestic origin, and to the consumers who prefer such products. For American manufacturers who utilize foreign parts or labor, a qualified "Made in USA" standard remains a viable and reasonable option. The present standard, despite its stringent requirements, has been adhered to by a number of manufacturers for many years. These manufacturers have proudly met the FTC requirements and use the "Made in USA" label in the advertisement and sale of their products.
I am equally concerned that the new proposed standard will serve to confuse and deceive the American consumer. Most Americans assume that a product advertised as "Made in the USA" is wholly produced and manufactured in this country. The new proposed standard will allow the "Made in the USA" label to be used on products that have up to 25 percent foreign content. In my view, that is deceptive advertising. Retaining the current standard will ensure that when an American consumer purchases a product advertised as "Made in the USA, he or she is getting a product made in this country with "all or virtually all" American components.
Once again, I urge the FTC to not implement the new proposed standard, and retain the current standard. Thank you for your time and consideration.
James A. Traficant, Jr.
James A. Traficant, Jr.
c:The Honorable John Dingell