Despite a modest uptick in the production of apparel in the US, there are still obstacles to manufacturing domestically

Despite a modest uptick in the production of apparel in the US, there are still obstacles to manufacturing domestically

Three US Senators are calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to fully enforce its 'Made in the USA' labelling standards, placing further support behind the steady growth of domestic manufacturing.

The FTC has faced criticism from the US garment and footwear industry for the "ambiguity" of its "all or virtually all" 'Made in USA' standard, which it says enables some domestic apparel production to be labelled with an unqualified 'Made in USA' label provided certain specific input items are also manufactured in the US.

In an open letter to chairman Joseph Simons this week, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) urged the FTC to fully enforce its 'Made in the USA' labelling standards in order to prevent companies from "fraudulently" affixing 'Made in America' labels to foreign-made products.

The Senators say mislabelling products not only misleads consumers but also disadvantages American businesses. They are urging the FTC to consider monetary penalties as well as admission of guilt settlements for companies that import products from countries like China and then commit the label violations.

They argue that consumers view American-made goods more positively and are often willing to pay a higher price for them, and may be less likely to have health or quality concerns about a product when its true country of origin is concealed

"If the consequences of misusing the 'Made in the USA' label do not include paying fines or admitting wrongdoing, it is unlikely that these and other companies will be deterred from using the same deceptive tactics to sell their products in the future," the Senators wrote.

"The value of the 'Made in the USA' label is dependent on its integrity. The Commission plays a critical role in ensuring that American-made products are truly made in America. We urge you to require the companies in these cases to pay fines and admit they lied. Failure to take decisive action risks weakening the significance of the 'Made in the USA' label and undermining American manufacturers."

A report published by the US International Trade Commission last month found that despite a modest uptick in the production of apparel in the US, there are still obstacles to manufacturing domestically, including labour costs and availability.