Rep. Cook Cosponsoring National Legislation for Standardized “Made in the U.S.A.” Criteria

By on July 7, 2018

Everywhere in the United States manufacturers are able to put a “Made in the U.S.A.” label on their products if “all or virtually all” of product is made in the United States. Everywhere, that is, except in California.

The Golden State has set its own arbitrary threshold — which is extremely difficult and often impossible for businesses to meet – for using the label proclaiming “Made in the U.S.A.” Everywhere, except in California, the U.S. the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for preventing deceptive acts and practices and regulating country of origin labeling, thereby enforcing the standard for products to meet when claiming they are “Made in the U.S.A.” In California, every single piece that comprises a product and every single manufacturing process of that product must be American-made vs. the FTC’s “all or virtually all” of product is to be made in the United States.

Rep. Paul Cook (R-8th District-Apple Valley) is keenly aware of this discrepancy and has announced that he is cosponsoring HR 4923, the Reinforcing American Made Products Act. The bill was originally introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-49th District-Vista).

In addition to the more stringent regulation in California, other manufacturers throughout the United States are hesitant to label their totally American-made products with the “Made in the U.S.A.” label due to potential litigation. Many U.S. manufacturers sell their products wholesale to national and international distributers who, in turn, distribute the products throughout the country to retailers who then redistribute products across the nation to meet demand. Manufacturers often have very little control over their products’ end point.  As a result, a company must label (or NOT label) its product based on the most rigid definition to protect itself from litigation in one state — California.

Essentially, if a product is made in the United States under the “all or virtually all” federal criteria but is inadvertently sold in California – where the criteria is that the entire product has been made in the U.S. – where one single part, say a specialized washer has been made in another country, then California can sue the manufacturer. In short, California is effectively governing how interstate commerce is conducted with regard to “Made in the U.S.A.” labeling throughout the country.

Many American consumers, and even some foreign consumers, choose to purchase products “Made in the U.S.A.” versus those manufactured abroad or those made with mostly foreign components.  Many people will even pay more for American-made products in order to support American manufacturing jobs and to voice their opposition to certain foreign labor practices such as child labor, or simply because they believe the products to be of higher quality.

“This legislation is good for the economy, businesses, and consumers. It supports American jobs and limits frivolous lawsuits, while also ensuring we have one clear standard across the country,” said Rep. Cook. “I strongly support this reform and look forward to this bill making its way through the legislative process.”

Maglite, an Ontario-based leading manufacturer of flashlights since 1982, has voiced strong support for HR 4923. Maglite’s founder and CEO Anthony Maglica is a proud to be a U.S.A. manufacturer.

“HR 4923 is sorely needed to protect manufacturers from a hazard of navigation that has been put in place by the State of California that opens up unsuspecting businesses to capricious legislation,” said Maglica. “It is long overdue and certainly a step in the right direction in support of all U.S. manufacturers. Specifically, for California to have a different standard for being able to put “Made in the U.S.A.” on a product is harmful to all companies that manufacture products in the United States and denies them a competitive advantage that Maglite, and others that work as hard as they can to be as American-Made as they can, need and deserve to combat cheap foreign products. We thank Congressman Cook for realizing this and adding his support to the bill.”

Rep. Cook’s 8th Congressional District includes the city of Yucaipa. In addition to the Apple Valley District Office, Rep. Cook maintains a Yucaipa District Office at 34282 Yucaipa Blvd. in Yucaipa. The phone number is: 909-797-4900. Please call for the hours of availability before visiting the Yucaipa office.