FTC: Made In The USA Comments Concerning Erin L. Markey--P894219
VIA FEDERAL EXPRESS
August 8, 1997
Office of the Secretary
Re: Made in USA Policy Comment
FTC File No. P894219
We respectfully submit the following comment in response to the Commission's request for public comment on proposed Guides for the Use of U.S. Origin Claims published in Volume 62 of the Federal Register on May 7, 1997.
Oneida Ltd. has manufactured stainless steel, silverplate and sterling flatware and silverplated holloware at its Oneida, New York manufacturing facility for well over a century. While Oneida Ltd. applauds and supports the two safe harbor provisions the Commission has proposed, Oneida Ltd. feels that its interests, and the interests of other manufacturers and marketers of Made in the USA products, will be unnecessarily harmed by the Commission's proposal to eliminate the presumption that goods are of U.S. origin unless indicated otherwise.
We feel that the importance of and need for this presumption is particularly well illustrated by catalog sales. With a catalog sale, neither the product nor its packaging, the two items required in most cases to indicate country of origin, are available to the consumer for pre-sale inspection. As such, a catalog customer has no easy way to ascertain a product's origin. With the presumption gone, catalog customers will be left to themselves to determine, based on the very limited information they have, whether an unlabeled product is of U.S. or foreign origin.
We also feel that the Commission's proposed replacement for the rebuttable presumption is unworkable. Who will determine if there is evidence that a significant minority of consumers believe a certain product, if unlabeled, is domestic? When will this determination be made and what type of evidence will be necessary? The problem with the Commission's replacement for the presumption is that consumers may be deceived and mislead while the Commission is answering these questions.
Oneida Ltd. asks that the Commission to continue to protect consumers and prevent deceptive and misleading advertising. At this time Oneida Ltd. respectfully requests that the Commission reconsider its proposal to eliminate the rebuttable presumption that products that are not labeled with any country of origin are understood to be made in the USA.
Very truly yours,
Erin L. Markey