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.
With state officials eyeing $56 billion of wind farm projects off the American coastline, developers are worried the turbines will need to be stamped with a big “Made in the U.S.A.”
Each structure is enormous — almost half the height of the Empire State Building. Most all of them are constructed in Europe, at least for now. As states in the U.S. Northeast jump into wind power, they’re betting they can create their own windmill industry. It’ll be a costly but perhaps necessary move, especially as President Donald Trump pushes for more factory jobs and picks fights with those making parts abroad.
“There’s no way of hiding that every single state, be it here in the U.S. or be it countries in Europe, are insisting on everything sort of being local,” said Henrik Poulsen, CEO of Orsted A/S, the Danish company that is the world’s largest offshore-wind developer. “It is an equation that’s very difficult to solve without the whole technology becoming much more expensive.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pence’s office issued a statement confirming the meeting and saying he emphasized “Trump’s commitment to enact historic tax cuts” and commitment to grow manufacturing in the U.S., reduce trade deficits and aid the car-making industry.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the “Yachting Capital of the World” will host the 58th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on Nov 1- Nov 5, 2017. Show exhibits range from yacht builders and designers to exotic cars and brokerage yachts. A wide variety of boats will be on display including runabouts, sportfishers, high-performance boats, center consoles, cabin cruisers, flats boats, skiffs, express cruisers, sailing yachts, motor yachts, bowriders, catamarans, ski boats, jet boats, trawlers, inflatables, canoes, and extraordinary superyachts. FLIBS is exactly where you want to be!
According to the OIA Industry 2017 report, the outdoor recreation industry contributes $887 billion in consumer spending annually, provides 7.6 million jobs, generates $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenue.