Recently, ThomasNet.com put out its annual Industry Market Barometer (IMB). The report, based on a series of survey responses from manufacturers, reveals that today’s U.S.-based manufacturers are making the most out of producing and delivering products that they can market as having been made in America. According to a recent news release ThomasNet.com put out on its IMB, the majority of modern US manufacturers “are capitalizing on the meaning of the ‘Made in America brand.”
The growing popularity of the “Made in America” brand may be one of the reasons some US manufacturers are pushing for more restrictions when it comes to the “Made in America” label. In a story that ran in May 2012, The Washington Times claimed that “as much as 90 percent of the various components of a product can come from other countries, such as China and India, but it can still qualify for the ‘Made in America’ label because a minimum percentage of the final product is assembled or ‘substantially transformed’ in the US.”
The Bureau of Consumer Protection website spells out the ways in which companies are expected to comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) standards in common sense terms. It is worth noting that the current standard for a “Made in America” or “Made in USA” claim is simply that “all or virtually all” of a product’s significant parts be made in the US. Similarly, the FTC requires that “all or virtually all” product processing take place within the US.
While the FTC does have criteria it uses to determine whether or not the “all or virtually all” standard is being met, many US manufacturers are concerned that the criteria allow too much room for gray area, and that the gray area is what is degrading the efforts of companies that really do manufacture and produce 100 percent of their products in the US.
If marketing your products as “Made in America” is important to your company, you have reason to be concerned. As the validity of the “Made in America” and similar labels and claims comes into question in the media with more frequency as a result of lax standards, your sales and marketing campaigns that incorporate “Made in America” claims could become virtually meaningless.
What do you think? Should “Made in America” label standards be tougher? Would you like to see fewer products carry the label? How valuable is the “Made in America” label to your business?