On September 26, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC’s” or “the Commission’s”) Bureau of Consumer Protection (“BCP”) held a public workshop on “Made in USA” and similar U.S.-origin claims for consumer goods sold in the United States. This is the first time the Commission has sought public input on its approach to such claims since issuing its 1997 Enforcement Policy Statement. The FTC is considering revising the Policy Statement or issuing formal rulemaking, and is seeking comments on consumer perception of “Made in USA” claims, the workability of the current standard, the value of a bright-line rule for the amount of permissible foreign content (e.g., a specific percentage), and its approach to enforcement, which currently emphasizes counseling compliance over prosecuting violations.
The workshop featured panelists representing members of industry, consumer advocacy groups, and FTC attorneys who are principally responsible for enforcing the Commission’s policy on “made in USA” claims. There were three discussion segments: (1) Consumer Perception – How Do Consumers Interpret Made in USA Claims; (2) Doing Business Under the Current Policy – What Are the Compliance or Policy Challenges Under the Current Framework; and (3) Enforcement Approaches – Should the Commission Reexamine Its Current Approach to Addressing Deceptive Made in USA Claims. Members of the public were not invited to speak during the workshop, but are encouraged to submit comments to the FTC docket. The FTC is requesting comments on 15 specific questions, attached in Appendix A.