Background

The Senate Commerce Committee approved May 18 the Reinforcing American-Made Products Act (S. 118) concerning the labeling of products as having been made in the U.S.

Under this bill federal law would supersede any state law provisions expressly relating to the extent to which a product is introduced, delivered for introduction, sold, advertised, or offered for sale in interstate or foreign commerce with a “Made in the USA” or “Made in America” label, or equivalent thereof, to represent that the product is of domestic origin in whole or in part. 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.

Like a similar measure the committee approved in 2016, S. 118 aims to ensure that 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. These bills appear to be a response to a California law that imposed stricter “made in USA” labeling requirements than those imposed by the Federal Trade Commission and was the basis of a number of lawsuits that cost targeted companies substantial sums to either settle or fight in court. In September 2015 the law was revised to align the state’s labeling standards more closely with those of the FTC.

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