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Senate Committee Advances American-Made Products Act

Aiming to clear up potential conflicts with state laws, the Reinforcing American-Made Products Act will now move to the full Senate for consideration after the Senate’s Commerce Committee gave approval to the measure. The act gives the federal government the exclusive authority to regulate the labeling of products Made in the USA or Made in America for domestic sale, consumption and advertising, or for export.

The bill’s blueprint states that the Made in USA Act would ensure the federal government maintains authority in setting country-of-origin labeling standards and that states do not create a patchwork of different standards governing interstate and exported goods. One state has complicated our country standard, setting a rigid 100 percent threshold and exposing manufacturers to unnecessary litigation. The Reinforcing American-Made Products Act would fix that by creating one national standard.

This refers to a California law that imposed stricter ‘Made in USA’ labeling requirements than those imposed by the Federal Trade Commission.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association said it’s strongly supportive of the Reinforcing American-Made Products Act and the important clarity it will provide for labeling of Made in USA products. AAFA said there are currently varying interpretations of the Federal Trade Commission’s labeling standards, resulting in different labeling requirements for manufacturers and retailers on a state by state basis.

“This is both confusing for consumers and costly for companies trying to produce quality Made in USA products, which in the end discourages domestic production,” AAFA said. “The Reinforcing American-Made Products Act is a commonsense bill that will provide real benefits to Made in USA producers.”

When it was introduced, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said, “The revitalization of American manufacturing begins with ensuring that U.S. manufacturers do not face excessive burdens at home. And allowing a more complex and burdensome state standard on so-called Made in the USA labeling to supersede a strong federal standard complicates the work of manufacturers across the country who are, in fact, making it in America, and contributing to their local economies. This legislation would maintain a clear national standard which will keep consumers informed and encourage our domestic manufacturers to keep making products right here at home.”

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However, the bill would also allow the enforcement of applicable state laws with respect to the use of labels not in compliance with federal ‘Made in USA’ standards.

In September 2015, the California law was revised to align the state’s labeling standards more closely with those of the FTC.