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Pallone & Schakowsky Urge FTC to Adopt Proposed ‘Made in USA’ Labeling Rule

Oct 15, 2020
Press Release
“Rebuilding consumer trust in the label requires strong enforcement and meaningful consequences for those who deceive consumers”

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today urging them to adopt its proposed Made in USA rule.

“The Made in USA label empowers consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions and rewards American manufacturers that invest, employ, innovate, and produce in the United States, including many small businesses that can gain a competitive edge based on country of origin,” the two lawmakers wrote in their letter to FTC Chairman Joseph J. Simons. “This proposed rule is an encouraging sign of the FTC’s commitment to meaningful consumer protection through use of its rulemaking authorities.  We look forward to the Commission quickly concluding this rule and starting aggressive enforcement that will protect both consumers and domestic manufacturers.”

Nearly eight in ten Americans prefer purchasing American-made products over imports, with over 60 percent of consumers even willing to pay 10 percent more for American-made goods.  However, the two Committee leaders explain that nearly a quarter of Americans do not trust the Made in USA label due to some businesses – particularly online businesses – seeking to capitalize on higher demand for American-made goods by deceptively using the label.  This lack of public confidence harms domestic manufacturers who use the label appropriately.  Pallone and Schakowsky wrote that the FTC has a responsibility to better enforce consequences against potential violators, and finalizing the proposed rule is a crucial first step in that process.

“Rebuilding consumer trust in the label requires strong enforcement and meaningful consequences for those who deceive consumers with misleading use of the label.  Unfortunately, too often the FTC has refused to take strong enforcement actions, showing potential violators that they can misuse the Made in USA label with impunity.  We appreciate the clarity provided by the proposed rule that violators are subject to civil penalties and encourage the FTC to include this provision in the final rule.  Such action would show that the FTC will use all the available tools to deter potential violators and make repeat violations less likely.”

Pallone and Schakowsky also stressed the need to apply the rule to physical and online labels, including online marketing material, as the proposed rule would require. They voiced concern that any attempt to limit the rule to only physical labels would mean ignoring the reality of retail purchasing in the 21st century where consumer retail spending has been shifting from physical stores to online stores for years.

The full letter is available HERE.