10.16.18

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Urging Trump Administration to Fully Enforce “Made in USA” Labeling Standards

Baldwin calls on the FTC to require monetary penalties for companies fraudulently affixing “Made in America” labels to foreign-made products

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) in urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to fully enforce its “Made in the USA” labeling standards.

In their letter, the Senators referenced instances where companies fraudulently affixed “Made in America” labels to foreign-made products. The Senators said mislabeling products not only misleads consumers, but also disadvantages American businesses.

“If the consequences of misusing the ‘Made in the USA’ label do not include paying fines or admitting wrongdoing, it is unlikely that these and other companies will be deterred from using the same deceptive tactics to sell their products in the future,” the Senators wrote. “The value of the ‘Made in the USA’ label is dependent on its integrity.  The Commission plays a critical role in ensuring that American-made products are truly made in America.  We urge you to require the companies in these cases to pay fines and admit they lied.  Failure to take decisive action risks weakening the significance of the ‘Made in the USA’ label and undermining American manufacturers.”

The Senators are urging the FTC to consider monetary penalties as well as admission of guilt settlements for companies that import products from countries like China, and then commit these label violations.

Full text of the letter is below.

 

Dear Chairman Simons,

We write to urge the Commission to fully enforce “Made in the USA” labeling standards and to express our concerns with no-fault, no-money settlements for “Made in the USA” labeling violations.  When a product says “Made in the USA,” consumers expect that the product was made domestically.  Failing to enforce “Made in the USA” standards misleads consumers and disadvantages domestic producers, and we urge the Commission to take all steps necessary to protect the integrity of the label.

In the cases of Nectar Sleep, Sandpiper/PiperGear USA, and Patriot Puck specifically, we urge the Commission to assess financial penalties and require admissions of guilt.  In all three instances, the companies fraudulently affixed “Made in the USA” labels to foreign-made products, most of which were imported from China.  There is a clear financial benefit to companies such as those in question to label their goods as “Made in the USA.”  Consumers view American-made goods more positively and are often willing to pay a higher price for them.  In addition, consumers may be less likely to have health or quality concerns about a product when its true country of origin is concealed.  If the consequences of misusing the “Made in the USA” label do not include paying fines or admitting wrongdoing, it is unlikely that these and other companies will be deterred from using the same deceptive tactics to sell their products in the future. 

The value of the “Made in the USA” label is dependent on its integrity.  The Commission plays a critical role in ensuring that American-made products are truly made in America.  We urge you to require the companies in these cases to pay fines and admit they lied.  Failure to take decisive action risks weakening the significance of the “Made in the USA” label and undermining American manufacturers.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.