Many products claim that they are “Made in the USA” or “Made in America”. But what is actually meant by the phrases “Made in the USA” and “Made in America”? And what is meant by a “qualified claim” and “unqualified claim”?
The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charged with preventing deception and unfairness in the marketplace in regards to these claims. The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin.
According to the FTC, the following must be met to claim an product is made in the US – “Marketers and manufacturers that promote their products as Made in USA must meet the “all or virtually all” standard.”… “All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. That is, the product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content”
For a product to be called Made in USA, or claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifications or limits on the claim, the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. The term “United States,” as referred to in the Enforcement Policy Statement, includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories and possessions.
The policy applies to all products advertised or sold in the U.S., except for those specifically subject to country-of-origin labeling by other laws. A company doesn’t need approval from the Commission before making a Made in USA claim. As with most other advertising claims, a manufacturer or marketer may make any claim as long as it is truthful and substantiated.
Type of Claims
There are two types of “Made in the U.S.” claims – qualified and unqualified.
When a manufacturer or marketer makes an unqualified claim that a product is Made in USA, it should have a “reasonable basis” to support the claim at the time it is made. This means a manufacturer or marketer needs competent and reliable evidence to back up the claim that its product is “all or virtually all” made in the U.S.
A qualified Made in USA claim describes the extent, amount or type of a product’s domestic content or processing; it indicates that the product isn’t entirely of domestic origin.
The Flex-Safe® USA Claim
The Flex-Safe® Products are manufactured and assembled in the United States using virtually all parts and services from U.S. based suppliers.