The Federal Trade Commission announced that it will hold a half-day public "Made in USA" workshop in Washington, D.C. on September 26, 2019. The workshop will consider "Made in USA" and other types of U.S.-origin claims, consumer perception of such claims, the need for any changes to the FTC's existing guidance, and other relevant issues.
The FTC has not yet announced the specific workshop agenda, which it said will be available in the near future.
In advance of the workshop, the FTC is soliciting comment on a number of questions, including:
- How do consumers interpret "Made in USA" claims?
- When consumers see "Made in USA" claims, what amount of U.S. parts and labor do they assume are in the products?
- What are the costs and benefits of enforcing an "all or virtually all" standard?
- What are the costs and benefits of enforcing a bright-line, costs-based standard (such as 85%)?
- How do consumers interpret qualified "Made in USA" claims?
- Do consumers believe that "Assembled in USA" means something different than "Made in USA"?
- What remedies should the FTC seek against companies that make deceptive "Made in USA" claims?
Chairman Joe Simons announced last April that a "Made in USA" workshop was going to be held this year.
With so much FTC enforcement in this area, there should be a great deal of interest in this workshop and any action that the FTC takes as a result. The FTC is also asking some hard questions that could lead to changes in the FTC's approach in the future.
It's also hard not to notice that the FTC mentioned "85%" as a possible bright line test for when a product is "all or virtually all" made here. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.