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Consumer Protection & Privacy

Norton Rose Fulbright: California Closely Scrutinizes ‘Made In The USA’ Claims

By Lauren Shoor

Labeling products as “Made in the USA” has seen increased popularity recently, as retailers and manufacturers attempt to capitalize on consumers’ desire to support domestic jobs and US-made goods. Despite the seeming cachet of these statements, they may open companies up to false and misleading advertising claims, particularly in plaintiff-happy California.

“Made in the USA” representations are regulated in both the federal and state-law spheres.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, for a product to be marketed as “Made in the USA,” “all or virtually all” of the product must be made in the U.S, meaning that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of US origin. As explained in the FTC Enforcement Policy, a product advertised as “Made in the USA” “should contain only a de minimis, or negligible amount of foreign content.” To qualify as “all or virtually all” made in the US, the product’s final assembly or processing must take place in the US. The FTC then considers several other factors, including the product’s total manufacturing costs that are attributable to US parts and processing, and how far removed from the finished product any foreign content is.

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