Complying with the Made in USA Standard

August 11, 2022

Source: “Complying with the Made in USA Standard” by the Federal Trade Commission

Over the years, the rules for what can be claimed as a product made in the U.S. has changed. Originally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that the product had to be completely made in the U.S. or close to it. As noted in the “Complying with the Made in USA Standard” handbook, they later reviewed the rule and chose to keep it, but added a policy that gave guidance to those who wanted to make qualified or unqualified claims. According to the handbook:

Marketers of automobiles, textile, wool, and fur products only must claim the country of origin. Most other products – like paper – don’t require a Made in USA disclosure, but manufacturers can make that claim as long as they abide by the FTC’s policies. Manufacturers and marketers cannot use their name and branding to denote that their product’s origin is the U.S. or make claims about whole product lines. Lastly, any company can use the claim if it is true and can be supported.

As mentioned above, there are unqualified and qualified claims. For unqualified claims, the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. This means all of the significant parts and processes happen in the U.S. The final steps of a product’s assembly must take place in the U.S., and the FTC will consider the other factors involved, such as the processing time spent in a foreign country. Anyone can make an unqualified claim if they have evidence to back it up. For qualified claims, there is a description of the extent, amount, or type of a product’s domestic content, stating that the product was not fully made in the U.S. Manufacturers and marketers can describe their products with phrases like “75% U.S. content” or note which part of the product was imported. Again, these claims should be truthful and evidence based.

To learn more about making unqualified and qualified claims, visit the Federal Trade Commission.

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