Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade law news:
Chemence Inc., a glue maker, is once again in a sticky situation with The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly making deceptive claims that its products are made in the United States. In a proposed Consent Order, Chemence agreed to pay $1.2 million for its violation of the FTC Act for violating a 2016 federal court order to cease deceptive marketing tactics, as well as mandated an annual compliance report. The FTC now seeks Public Comment on the proposed consent agreement. The comment period closes on February 8, 2021. Thereafter, FTC will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement or make it final and force Chemence to pay the $1.2 million penalty.
The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a press release confirming is sent three warning letters to companies that sell oils, tinctures, capsules, “gummies,” and creams containing cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. While the warning letters are not made publicly available, the FTC advised the warning letters were sent because the companies were advertising their CBD products could treat or cure serious diseases and health conditions, in violation of both the FTC Act (as well as U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)) laws and regulations.
Which Federal Agency Regulates the “Made in the USA” Claim?
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “the Commission”) “is charged with preventing deception and unfairness in the marketplace. The FTC created an Act that would allow the Commission to bring legal action “against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin”.
When Can I Say Made in the USA?
- For a product to be considered as “Made in the USA” without qualification, that product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. How the Commission determines whether a product is “all or virtually all” made in the U.S., by looking at whether there was “a ‘reasonable basis’ to support the claim at the time it is made”. To prove the “reasonable basis” standard, a manufacturer or marketer must provide “competent and reliable evidence” to the FTC.
- A qualified Made in the USA claim must describe “the extent, amount or type of [its] domestic content or processing”. This allows the consumer to know “that the product isn’t entirely of domestic origin”. The FTC warns that qualified claims can be tricky, so it is best to “avoid qualified claims unless the product has a significant amount of U.S. content or U.S. processing”.
- Ex: “60% U.S. content. Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts. Couch assembled in USA from Italian Leather and Mexican Frame.”
- For a complete understanding of the FTC’s Made in the USA standard, take a look at “Complying with the MADE IN USA STANDARD”.