The Federal Trade Commission announced that it will vote on whether to finalize its new "Made in USA" rule at an open meeting of the Commission that will be held on July 1st at 12:00 ET. Last year, the FTC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to create a new rule rule that would govern U.S.-origin claims that appear on product labels and in mail order advertising. The rule, if adopted, would codify the principles set forth in the FTC's Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims. In the announcement of next week's vote, the FTC said that, "The rule would help ensure that consumers can confidently buy American, and that honest companies can realize the benefits of the Made in USA Label."
The FTC also announced that the July 1st meeting is the first of a series of open monthly meetings that the Commission plans to hold. On Twitter, FTC Chair Lina Khan said that these meetings, "will let us regularly hear from the broader public and ensure our work is more participatory and democratic."
In addition to voting on the new "Made in USA" rule, the tentative agenda for the July 1st meeting includes:
- Voting on whether to streamline the procedures for Section 18 rules prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The FTC said, "Section 18 rules allow the Commission to seek redress for defrauded consumers and penalties against firms that cheat."
- Voting on whether to rescind the FTC's "Statement of Enforcement Principles Regarding 'Unfair Methods of Competition' Under Section 5 of the FTC Act" issued in 2015.
- Voting on a series of resolutions that will streamline investigations by Commission staff into specific industries or specific conduct. If adopted, these resolutions will "provide ongoing authority for a single Commissioner to approve the use of compulsory process in those investigations."
In addition to opening the work of the FTC Commissioners to the public, the meeting will also allow time for members of the public to address the Commission. People that want to speak are required to sign up in advance and may speak for no more than one minute.
Apparently, holding the open meeting is not without some controversy. On Twitter, Commissioner Noah J. Phillips said, "I am concerned that items on the agenda will reduce clarity in law, limit public understanding of rulemaking, and remove Commission oversight of decisions that impose substantial costs on the agency and businesses alike. I support the desire to bring greater transparency to the FTC's work through a public meeting, but a mere week's notice on matters requiring serious deliberation, and a number of the policies themselves, undermine that very goal."
"The rule would help ensure that consumers can confidently buy American, and that honest companies can realize the benefits of the Made in USA Label"