There’s no doubt that the “Made in the USA” or “Made in America” labels generate positivity. In today’s global economy, having a product with that label is almost like a unicorn. You have something special. But what does it take for a product to carry that label? The indicators are in a bit of a gray area. We’ll try to explain.
For the most part, a “Made in the USA” label can be used on products that are mostly made in America. What does that mean, exactly? According to the Federal Trade Commission, it means that all, or virtually all of the product has to be produced, built, assembled, manufactured, or created in the United States. In addition, some products must disclose their U.S. content, particularly automobiles, textile, wool and fur products. For a product to be considered “Made in the USA,” the final assembly or substantial transformation must take place somewhere in the United States.
How To Market Products That Carry the “Made in the USA” Label?
Express claims can be made in marketing, which include phrases such as “our products are American-made.” Identifying claims depends on the context, of course, but U.S. flags, outlines of U.S. maps or references to U.S. locations of headquarters or factories may be used in conjunction with words or phrases. They are not appropriate to use on their own.
DSI/Dynamatic, Inc. uses the “Made in the USA” label for our controls, even though we source parts from other countries. That’s because the final assembly of every control is done in our Wisconsin headquarters and can be substantiated as such.
More Things to Remember
Brand names and trademarks do not alone express a “Made in the USA” claim and a company’s U.S. address isn’t sufficient to interpret a claim of U.S. origin.
Manufacturers and marketers should not say that an entire product line is of U.S. origin if only some of the products are made in the U.S. according to the “all or virtually all” standard.
When marketing products as “Made In the USA,” the FTC recommends the following:
- Tell the truth
- Be specific
- Don’t overstate claims
- Use plain language
If a product’s contents can be substantiated with a percentage, the FTC recommends language such as “60% U.S. Content,” “Made in the USA of U.S. and imported parts,” or “Assembled in the USA from Italian and German parts.”
Ultimately, all claims using the “Made in the USA” or similar phrases should be truthful and well substantiated.