What is “Made in America”?
“Made in America.” This is a label that evokes patriotism, carries a self-evident commitment to quality, and has the political color of American worker job security. It is also more complicated and harder to define than people think.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s official definition of the “Made in the United States” label requires products advertised as “Made in the United States” to be wholly or almost entirely manufactured in the United States.
The rules for the “Made in the USA” label on products are very specific. A 40-page document titled “Meeting American Manufacturing Standards” explains in detail what this means.
How “Made in America” works
With the exception of automobiles, textiles, wool and fur products, there is no legal requirement to disclose the percentage of ingredients in products manufactured in the United States.
Companies that choose to make this type of disclosure must comply with the standards set out in the FTC’s “Made in America” policy.
The policy’s definition of the United States includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories and possessions of the United States. The basic definition of the standard requires that “all important parts and processes entering the product must come from the United States. That is, the product should not contain or negligible foreign ingredients.”
- For a product with the “Made in the USA” label, it must meet specific standards set by the Federal Trade Commission.
- Products that do not fully meet the “Made in the United States” standards are usually labeled as “Assembled in the United States” or “Made in the United States from domestic and imported parts.”
- Except for textiles, fur products, or automobiles, there is no legal requirement to disclose the percentage of ingredients in products manufactured in the United States.
- A national debate about buying domestic and foreign products.
- Certain country-of-origin labels may cause customers to worry about the possibility of low-quality products or unsafe use, depending on the country.
The final assembly or processing of the product must be carried out in the United States. The FTC also considers other factors, including how much of the total product manufacturing cost can be allocated to US parts and processing, and the distance between any foreign ingredients and the finished product.
In some cases, only a small part of the total manufacturing cost can be attributed to foreign processing, but this processing accounts for a large part of the overall processing of the product. The same is true for some foreign objects.
From a marketing perspective, labels have power, and the “Made in America” label may evoke nationalist sentiments, support for American workers, and hints of buying high-quality products.
The guide uses gas grills sold in the United States as an example. If the knobs and tubes, which are secondary parts of the grill, are imported from Mexico, the product can still include the “Made in the USA” label.
On the other hand, lamps made with imported bases are not qualified because the base is an important part of the finished product. Determining whether the product meets the standard should also include an evaluation of the product’s manufacturing cost, including materials and labor.
Qualification and comparison statement
Products that do not meet the requirements of the unconditional declaration may choose to advertise the percentage of their content from the United States or the fact that they are assembled in the United States. “Assembled in the U.S.” or “Made in the U.S. from domestic and imported parts” are examples of conformity declarations.
In order to be assembled in the United States, the standard requires that products “substantially change” during the manufacturing process. Therefore, items manufactured and imported abroad and then assembled together with a simple “screwdriver” usually do not meet the requirements of “assembled in the United States”.
Advertisers who intend to compare their products with competitors’ products through statements such as “We use more US content than any other mobile phone manufacturer” must also comply with the required standards. In particular, the differences between products must be great.
Authentication is not that simple
The various potential differences require a complex set of guidelines. Overlapping regulations on this subject add to the confusion.
For example, the “Textile Fiber Products Labeling Act” and the “Wool Product Labeling Act” require textile, wool and fur products to disclose the percentage of ingredients they purchase in the United States. The American Automobile Labeling Act also has similar requirements for vehicles.
The U.S. government has completely different standards for purchased items. According to the Purchase of American Goods Act, certain products must “be more than 50% of American parts manufactured in the U.S. before they can be considered manufactured in the U.S. for government procurement purposes.”
The U.S. customs agency also has a set of requirements related to imported goods. Under these requirements:
If the product is of foreign origin (that is, it has undergone substantial modification abroad), manufacturers and marketers should also ensure that they meet the customs marking laws and regulations, requiring such products to indicate the foreign origin. In addition, when any city or location other than the country of origin appears on the product, the customs requires the words “Made in”, “Product of” or similar meanings in front of the country of origin.
Execution is another issue entirely. The FTC did not take proactive measures to ensure compliance with labeling guidelines. Instead, law enforcement relies on responses to specific complaints. Instruct the victim online to contact “law enforcement, the Consumer Protection Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, the Attorney General of your state, or the Better Business Bureau.”
If you can prove that you have suffered damage, you can also sue the company that made the fraudulent claim.
The sheer number of potential entities to which you can file a complaint suggests that achieving satisfaction can be a similarly difficult task as following the rules themselves.
Why labels are important
A legal “Made in America” label immediately evokes nationalism and pride, as well as the implied level of quality and the promise of high-paying jobs for American citizens.
The long history of recession in the US manufacturing industry and the adverse impact of the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to third world countries on US employment have led to a high degree of emotion and sensitivity surrounding this topic.
“Made in China” or other country labels are often associated with the decline of the American middle class, lower safety and quality standards, substandard working conditions and corporate greed.
Domestic production and foreign production are also national and economic security issues. Although cheap imported T-shirts, steel and electronic products may be attractive to wallets, if the United States now relies on these countries, how the United States will manufacture the required number of tanks, guns, airplanes and sensitive electronic products is a real question . The import suddenly became an opponent.
Although the spread of globalization has led to the interconnection of the global economy, there are many reasons for the small number of relevant people in the country who firmly believe in the mantra “if you sell here, build here”.