FTC Commissioner Calls for Tougher Penalties Against False “Made in USA” Claims

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Researcher/Writer, AAM

It’s truly dismaying to see companies exploit the value and integrity of the “Made in USA” label in their marketing all while importing their products from countries like China. But, even more upsetting, is that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been letting these companies off the hook with little more than a slap on the wrist for decades.

Four companies, including Patriot Pucks and Sand Piper, came under scrutiny for their false “Made in USA” labeling this year, but they join a horde of others that have abused the label in the past.

We’ve had more than enough of this deception and complacency, and so has FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra.

Following a FTC vote Tuesday to offer Patriot Pucks and Sand Piper no-money, no-fault settlements despite the fact that these companies were found to have violated federal lawregarding labeling, Chopra issued a statement outlining how the FTC can actually defend the “Made in USA” label.

As Chopra writes, American manufacturers often make sacrifices in order to produce domestically and lose the advantages of “Made in USA” marketing when importers claim the label.

“Almost 8 in 10 American consumers say they would rather buy an America-made product than an imported one,” a 2015 Consumer Reports survey found. The survey also found that, though products manufactured domestically may come with a higher price tag, consumers are willing to foot a bigger bill in order to buy these goods – something Sand Piper and Patriot Puck both exploited in marketing their products imported from China and Mexico as “Made in USA.”

In the past, the FTC has deemed a warning to cease falsely advertising products as made in America as sufficient punishment. But, Chopra urges the FTC to “activate a legal switch to ‘turn on’ civil penalties for the first offense.” From thereon out, each violation can invoke $42,530 in fines.

To activate this civil penalty authority and thus more easily impose fines for violators, Chopra recommends that the FTC codify its “Made in USA” labeling standard, which requires that “all or virtually all” of a product’s parts and processing are of U.S.-origin. Not only would this further strengthen the FTC’s ability to impose fines, but it would also offer further clarity for companies who wish to use the label legitimately.

Defending the “Made in USA” label and the American manufacturers who rely on it feels like common sense to us, to say the least. If the FTC truly wants to deter further fraud, violators must be held to account. Join us in calling on the FTC to impose tougher rules and actual penalties on companies that attempt to swindle consumers with false “Made in USA” marketing.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work