The White House proclaimed July 17th as Made in America Day and last week as Made in America Week. As part of these events, the administration showcased “Made in America” products from each of the 50 states. For the complete list click here. Apparently the District of Columbia didn’t make the cut, which we’re a little bitter about (we know you’re thinking that nothing gets made in DC, but that’s not actually true.) The showcased products were displayed along with a sign that unambiguously proclaimed that the products were “Made in America.”
All of which leads us to wonder, did anyone check with the FTC?
As we have repeatedly blogged, the FTC argues that consumers interpret an unqualified “Made in USA” claim to mean more than just where the manufacturing plant happens to be. Consumers also allegedly believe that the claim means that “all or virtually all” of the manufacturing costs are domestic in origin; in other words, the inputs, etc., that go into the manufacturing are also largely domestic. We have also long argued that this meaning defies common sense and common usage of “Made in USA.” Last week’s Made in America Day just further highlights this disconnect, this time between the White House and the FTC. While we don’t want to name names, we did poke around the list of products that the White House put on its Made in USA list – many of them on their websites say nothing about Made in USA (perhaps because they’ve been counseled by FTC-type lawyers), while others clearly disclose that while they manufacture the finished product in the U.S., they import many components. It’s no wonder we often run across clients who are themselves confused.