Ohioans look for the “Made in the USA” label, because they want their dollars to support our economy, and they know it means a quality product, made by American workers. I proudly wear suits made in the USA, and Connie and I drive Jeeps made here in Ohio.
Yet too often, Ohio businesses are forced to compete with companies and marketers that falsely claim their products are made in the USA, when in reality they’re made in China.
That’s why for years I’ve led bipartisan groups of colleagues to push the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on this fraud, and now they are finally taking action, with a new, updated rule to strengthen “Made in the USA” enforcement.
We know that fraud is all too common. A company that makes hockey pucks wrapped their products in American flags and promoted them as “The Only American Made Hockey Puck.” A Silicon Valley mattress firm start-up marketed its mattresses as “designed and assembled in the USA” Two California-based companies marketed their gear to veterans and servicemembers, and put “American Made” tags in its products.
There’s one problem – in these cases, the products were actually manufactured entirely in China. Yet under the previous Administration, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) did nothing.
Now, the new FTC rule that takes effect next month will define a clear standard – any company that advertises a product as being “Made in the USA” must be able to prove that all, or virtually all, of it was made in America.
The rule also allows the FTC to enforce Made in USA requirements in e-commerce. The old, outdated rule only applied to physical tags and packaging – allowing companies to lie in online product descriptions. This will help us put a stop to that, and will also allow the FTC to enforce civil penalties for the first time.
Ohio manufacturers rely on the integrity of the “Made in the USA” brand, and should not be forced to compete with fraudulent foreign competitors who cheat. This new rule will protect Ohio businesses and Ohio workers, and will help ensure that when a product has a “Made in the USA” label, it actually means “Made in the USA.”
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.