‘Made in America’ rules are complex, confusing (NO KIDDING) Part 2

Posted by Annika Helmrich on Thu, Apr, 8 2010 @ 6:02 AM

In Part 2 of my "Made in America" feature, let's take a look into the requirements for a product to be considered "Made in America."

According to an MSNBC article, the 'rules are complex, confusing.' No kidding!!

It takes roughly 40 pages to spell out the FTC’s rules of the road for companies that want to make the Made in America claim. And those are just one of a half-dozen separate sets of rules that apply to “country of origin” labeling.

This doesn't include the additional complex, confusing rules that make up free trade agreements. And this is why we have extensive networks of trade compliance professionals, customs brokers, customs law attorneys, and regulatory agencies such as the CBP & FTC, constantly working with companies to either ensure their products are in compliance with these complex rules, or to work towards improving the rules.

As is the nature of government, products pop up or change faster than the rules are made, so the entire system is in constant flux. So if you think you've got those 40 pages of regulations memorized today, unless you are keeping up-to-date on new developments, you will soon be left in the dust when the rules change.

What does that entail? Well, you could be subject to duties when you thought your items were duty-free, and you could be subject to fines & penalties. Or you could be uneccesarily paying taxes on free-trade eligible items - and don't bet on the government knocking on your door to return your money!

What happens if you make a false "Made in America" claim? This article focuses on the consequences of selling in the US:

If you get caught, and the FTC decides you’ve crossed the line, you’ll get an order to stop making the claim. Most companies who get nabbed agree to stop making false Made in America claims without admitting or denying they did anything wrong. If you break the rules again, you'll probably get hit with a heavy fine for each infraction.

But the FTC doesn’t have a Made in America Police browsing store shelves for violations. The agency relies on consumers to tip them to infractions. If you think a company is falsely making a "Made in America" claim, you can notify the FTC’s Complaint Assistant Web site.

For more answers to frequently-asked questions about Made in America regulations, visit: 'Made in America rules' are complex, confusing.

Best Practices for Managing Free Trade Agreement Processes


Topics: Duty Management, Free Trade Agreements, Product Claim Details and Storage

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