Protecting The Integrity of Made in USA Claims

Made in the USA & Apparel Reshoring- Expert Round-Up, How America Can Create Jobs by Andy Grove

Three Senate Democrats have directed a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) insisting it fully enforce its “Made in the USA” labeling standards in the aftermath of recent agency decisions to settle with companies that allegedly marketed foreign-made goods as domestically produced.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin drafted a memorandum to the FTC on Monday stating they were concerned about recent agency decisions to reach “no-fault, no-money” settlements with companies alleged to have sold imported equipment under a “Made in the USA” label, instead of pursuing fines and admissions of guilt from the firms involved.

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FTC’s Aggressive Enforcement of “Made in USA” Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has continued to aggressively prosecute advertisers for making “Made in USA” claims that the FTC believes are deceptive.  Since President Trump’s inauguration, the FTC has entered into at least three settlement agreements with advertisers involving “Made in USA” claims and has issued closing letters in at least 20 other cases.  In order to make an unqualified “Made in USA” claim about a product, the FTC requires that the advertiser substantiate that the product was “all or virtually all” made in the United States.

In the FTC’s case against iSpring Water Systems, LLC, a Georgia-based distributor of water filtration systems, the FTC alleged that iSpring made unqualified claims that its products were made in the United States, despite the fact that its products were wholly imported or had a significant amount of foreign inputs.

The second FTC case involved Block Division, Inc., a Texas-based distributor of pulley block systems.  Here, the FTC alleged that Block Division’s pulleys featured imported steel plates that were stamped “Made in USA” prior to the plates’ entry into the United States.

In its third and most recent case, the FTC alleged that Bollman Hat Company and its wholly owned subsidiary SaveAnAmericanJob, LLC (“Bollman”) misled consumers about whether their products were manufactured in the United States.  Specifically, the FTC alleged that Bollman marketed hats with statements such as “Made in USA since 1868,” and “#buyamerican.”  Despite these claims, the FTC alleged that more than 70% of the hat styles sold by Respondents were wholly imported as finished products.  The FTC also alleged that Bollman licensed its “American Made Matters” seal to other companies for use in connection with the marketing of their own products without doing sufficient due diligence to ensure that the products were, in fact, made in the United States.  The FTC alleged that Bollman only required that third parties who wished to use the American Made Matters seal self-certify that at least 50% of the cost of at least one of its products was incurred in the United States, with final assembly or transformation in the United States.

These cases – and the twenty other investigations that resulted in closing letters – are an important reminder that advertisers should exercise caution to ensure that their “Made in USA” claims comply with FTC standards.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/672028/Trade+Regulation+Practices/FTCs+Aggressive+Enforcement+Of+Made+In+USA+Claims

USDA’s School Lunch program must now comply with the recently signed E.O. 13788

Buy American Act Certified

Buy American Act Certified

On April 18th, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order #13788 into effect reinforcing the Buy American Act and requiring the US government to start implementing more ‘Buy American and Hire American’ policies with additional scrutiny. This not only affects manufacturers/vendors that sell to the US government, but also farmers that supply produce to school districts, government facilities, and more. More specifically, the USDA’s School Lunch program must now comply with the recently signed EO by discontinuing waivers and preferring procurement from US Farmers.

With EO #13788 following its scheduled timeline, there is increasing pressure for the U.S. Government to implement more scrutinized procurement policies regarding the Buy American Act (BAA). Luckily, there is an easy solution for farmers to proactively meet and exceed increased procurement regulations.

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Protect your Marijuana Strain and Brand using Blockchain and (UPC) Universal Product Code.

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Protect your Marijuana Strain and Brand using Blockchain and (UPC) Universal Product Code.

With Marijuana listed as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, business owners and growers face strict Federal restrictions. These governmental commerce restrictions pose issues to brand owners and growers wishing to protect their personal Marijuana brands (strains) with trademarks Albeit, some states have begun adopting their own policies regarding Marijuana commerce and trade, the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) presumes ultimate control in distributing trademarks and brand protection.

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or combination of words, phrases, symbols, or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one party from those of others1.  Ultimately, a trademark offers an incredible value-add to brand owners using a brand name that is recognized by consumers which therefore drives customers to their business. Business owners/growers seeking to protect their personalized crops or bring legitimacy to commonly known strains face issues in providing customers with strain and crop assurance due to these strict regulations on Marijuana commerce. Read more of this post

Adam Reiser: Trump administration struggles to enforce ‘Buy American’ EO 13788

Nearly eight months after President Donald J. Trump signed his executive order “Buy American and Hire American,” an expert on certifying whether goods are made in the United States shared with Big League Politics the challenges in certification and enforcing Trump’s intentions.

 

 

 

Adam Reiser, the CEO and founder of Certified, Inc., told Big League Politics he is seeing no action in the executive branch to move the president’s executive order forward.

A source familiar with how the White House drafted the executive order told Big League Politics: “There are zero teeth in it, you know? Let’s of fanfare, lots of publicity, back-slapping and hand-shaking with Trump–and now, it is getting resisted, like as if it meant nothing.”

According to the president’s directive, all agencies were supposed to have turned into both the Department of Commerce and the Office of Management and Budget how they plan to comply. These plans are to include, searchable databases of certified vendors, storage arrangements for the documents and simplifications of their internal procurement procedures.

Reiser said Trump’s executive order was the president’s attempt to bring federal procurement back in synch with the law.

The Buy American Act of 1933 was signed by President Herbert Hoover the day before he handed over the White House to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Act was championed by Rep. Joseph W. Byrne, (D.-Tenn.), then the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and later Speaker of the House.

Byrne’s idea was that given support by the Hearst newspapers and by Hoover’s Commissioner of Customs Francis F.A. Eble, who would go on to start the Buy American Club.

“The law says that the U.S. government has to show preferential treatment to U.S. manufacturers,” Reiser said. “It is so the government has to buy from its own.”

Reiser said that from the 1970s, the federal government has been providing waivers to the 1933 law. “In the 1980s and 1990s, it has picked up big-time.”

When the president signed Executive Order 13788, the White House was optimistic.

President Donald J. Trump holding his Executive Order 13788 at the April 18, 2017 Kenosha, Wis., signing ceremony. (White House photo)

A senior administration official speaking on background on Easter Monday, the day before the executive order was signed in the headquarters of the tool company Snap-On in Kenosha, Wisconsin, said the executive order would correct the abuse of the Buy American Act waiver process.

“Okay, so the culture immediately changes across the agencies.  We have a lax enforcement, lax monitoring, lax compliance,” the official said. Read more of this post

Auto Chiefs Concerned with NAFTA Stance

The auto industry has warned that significant changes to the so-called rules of origin could undercut the president’s America-first goals.

Top executives from Detroit automakers met Monday with Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials and aired their concerns about changes the Trump administration is seeking to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump has pushed for companies to construct more auto assembly plants in the U.S., while also pushing for major changes to NAFTA that the automakers oppose. U.S. negotiators have proposed significant changes to the so-called rules of origin for autos in a bid to ensure more U.S.-made parts are used in vehicles assembled in North America, a change that the auto industry has warned could undercut Trump’s America-first goals.

“We view the modernization of NAFTA as an important opportunity to update the 23-year-old agreement and set the stage for an expansion of U.S. auto exports,” Matt Blunt, a former Missouri governor who leads the American Automotive Policy Council, a trade association representing Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said in a statement. “We also appreciate the opportunity to directly address the industry’s concerns with the administration’s rule of origin proposal.”

Blunt said there are other things the group would like to have added to NAFTA, including a provision to guard against currency manipulation by Mexico and Canada.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, GM CEO Mary Barra and Joe Hinrichs,  Ford’s president of global operations, attended the White House meeting. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn were also scheduled to attend the meeting, Pence’s office said earlier on Monday.

By Ryan Beene Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-27/auto-chiefs-air-concerns-with-trump-nafta-stance-in-white-house

 

 

Why ‘Made in America’ Is Stitched Into the Law, but Not the Uniforms

More Transportation Security Administration uniforms have been made in Mexico in recent years than in the United States, despite rules requiring the Department of Homeland Security to “buy American.”CreditDavid Mcnew/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s push to “buy American” has been a key initiative of his administration, and Mr. Trump speaks frequently about ensuring that the federal government is buying American products.

So it might come as a surprise that the uniforms of those Secret Service agents that protect and surround him every day are probably made outside the United States, most likely in Mexico.

The United States government has several laws on the books that require the military and other national security agencies to buy from American sources, when possible. But a new report from the Government Accountability Office shows how a primary rule covering the Department of Homeland Security, called the Kissell Amendment, has been undercut by a slew of bureaucratic restrictions and obligations required by international trade agreements.

As a result, over roughly the past three years, more Secret Service uniforms have been made in Mexico than in any other country — including the United States. The same goes for uniforms procured for Transportation Security Administration workers. The majority of uniforms for Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are also made outside the United States, in countries like El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Cambodia.

“It really doesn’t have much impact at all,” Kimberly Gianopoulos, the director of the Government Accountability Office’s international affairs and trade team, said of the Kissell Amendment.

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Buy American Act and Executive Order 13788 plans due today

Buy American Act

Buy American Act

NOVEMBER 15, 2017 Individual agency compliance plans must be submitted to the Director of the Office and Management and Budget (OMB) and Secretary of Commerce due today for the Buy America Act.

April 18, 2017, President Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order #13788 to reduce Federal waiver applications, support the US economy, and hold government agencies responsible for initiatives regarding procuring Made in USA goods. This executive order reinforces the 1933 Buy American Act which was enacted to protect America’s interest by requiring government agencies to prefer Made in USA goods, products, and vendors for government procurements.

Timeline- for Buy America Act

The General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees $66 billion in annual government procurement, will be accountable for securing Made in USA goods and products for their scheduled procurements. Additionally, the GSA will have to provide annual implementation reports to the Secretary of Commerce and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding ‘Buy American’ initiatives starting this November of 2017. The Secretary of Commerce must submit these November reports to President Trump annually every January starting in 2019.

Signup here…

Source Data: http://baac.certified.bz/

The Real Truth About Organic Strawberries

Certified organic strawberries aren’t so organic after all. Although organic strawberries sell for 50% to 100% more than conventional berries, organic strawberries are fumigated with toxic chemicals, including methyl bromide, at the beginning stages of their life-cycle.

Methyl bromide, is used to sterilize the soil before strawberries are planted. It’s not sprayed on the fruit. It’s a soil fumigant that kills just about everything it touches. Many hybridized seed varieties have been created that can only grow in sterile soil.

“The soil is, as a matter of fact, full of live organisms. It is essential to conceive of it as something pulsating with life, not as a dead or inert mass.”

– Albert Howard, The Soil and Health, 1947

“For most of agriculture’s 10,000-year history, farmers have succeeded or failed based on their ability to nurture life within soil. The microorganisms and earthworms that thrive in healthy soil metabolize nutrients and make them available for crops. They also convert animal and vegetable waste into humus, thus regenerating their own habitat and maintaining that thin layer of topsoil on which all terrestrial life depends.
In modern agriculture, however, soil operates as a medium, not a habitat: It exists to transfer synthetic, pre-metabolized nutrients from factories to crops. In this regime, any life form found in soil is at best innocuous — and at worst a threat. When a vast field is planted in the same crop year after year, its pests concentrate in the soil, waiting to strike.”

 

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Largest Organic Milk Producer in the U.S. Isn’t Actually Organic at All

The country’s largest organic milk producer has allegedly been operating illegally, according to an exposé that appeared in the Washington Post Monday. Aurora Organic Dairy, which supplies store-brand organic milk to such retailers as Walmart, Costco, and Target, was accused in the exposé of failing to graze its cattle according to USDA organic standards.

A formal legal complaint was filed Tuesday against the dairy and its organic certifier, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, by organic watchdog group The Cornucopia Institute.

“The rigorous investigative work by Peter Whoriskey at The Washington Post clearly illustrates a pattern of long-term corruption by both Aurora Dairy and the USDA’s National Organic Program,” Mark Kastel, Cornucopia’s co-director, said in a press release. “Our organic regulators have turned a blind eye as giant industrial operations place ethical family-scale dairy farmers at a distinct competitive disadvantage.”

According to the Washington Post, the High Plains operation in Colorado, which is run by Aurora Organic Dairy, has been keeping almost all of its 15,000 cows in dirt- and manure-covered pens instead of in pasture, as organic regulations require. Reporters visited the farm several times across eight days last year, and each time they never found more than ten percent of the herd grazing. This was confirmed by a high-resolution satellite photo taken in mid-July by DigitalGlobe, the Post reports.

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