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Successfully Selling “Made in USA” Products - It's more than a proud declaration. It is a legal term.

May 17, 2021 6:29 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

t’s so true that the world is open for sharing and exploring, giving and taking – thanks to digital technology. Goods are available from far and wide. For example, China has been in the news for several years now as it is a fast-growing nation with tremendous manufacturing power. Walk into any non-food or pharmacy retailer and look at how many products feature the “Made in China” sticker – there are tons. In fact, of the $505.6 billion worth of imported goods in 2017, $70.4 billion were manufactured in and shipped from China, according to the US Census Bureau.

Saunter over to a vintage or antique mall and look at the products of not-too-distant yesteryear for sale – many have “Made in USA” engraved, embossed, screenprinted. Some even have the specific location – a town/city and state!

But “Made in USA” is more than just a stamp or proud declaration. It is a legal term set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which explained in a press release that

Consumers who see "Made in USA" on a product expect that claim of origin to be truthful and accurate. "Made in USA" means that "all or virtually all" the product has been made in the United States. That is, all elaborated the FTC, significant parts, processing and labor that go into the product must be of domestic origin. Products should not contain any — or only negligible — foreign content.

And it matters. A very recent case should illustrate the importance of ensuring that the products you as a distributor sell to your customers as “Made in the USA” meet that claim. According to an FTC press release, a proposed FTC settlement – including a financial judgment – with a marketer of promotional products reminds companies of the need to substantiate their Made in USA representations.

Gennex Media LLC sells branded wristbands, lanyards, temporary tattoos, and other promotional products often distributed at trade shows or given to customers or employees. Gennex – which also does business as Brandnex, BrandStrong, PMGOA, and Promotional Manufacturing Group of America – prominently promoted its promotional products on websites, in social media, and on YouTube as “Made in USA,” “USA MADE,” and “Manufactured Right Here in America!”

But according to the FTC, in numerous instances, the products were wholly imported from China.  In the future, Gennex is prohibited from making unqualified U.S.-origin claims unless it has proof to establish that the product’s final assembly or processing – and all significant processing – takes place in the United States, and that all or virtually all ingredients or components are made and sourced in the U.S. The order includes a financial remedy of $146,249. Once the proposed settlement appears in the Federal Register, the FTC will accept public comments for 30 days.

“This should be obvious, but you can’t say your products are made in the USA when most of them are made elsewhere,” said Daniel Kaufman, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When companies like Gennex make this false claim, they hurt both people who want to buy American and companies that really do make things here.”

In their study published in the March 2021 issue of Marketing Science, Kong and Rao investigated the impact of the “Made in USA” claim on consumer demand. They stated that the claim is a disclosure not legally required on consumer-packaged goods however it is a claim made by many companies (sometimes deceptively, e.g., Gennex). They found that there was a decline in demand following the removal of the “Made in USA” claim of four products from companies making the false claim.

You can check for a Made in USA Certified® seal; it is the only registered Made in USA Certified wordmark from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Dick Nelson, CEO of MarcoPromos, comments, “Advertising with made in the USA promotional items is the ideal solution for any organization that wants to increase brand awareness while supporting the local economy.”

As promotional campaigns go, there are thousands and thousands of products to match your clientele's promotional needs for nearly any reason. Suggesting a tie-in with a national month, week, day, or holiday, is of course, always easy. Let’s take June for example:

National Safety Month: Mediagraphics’ Hand Sanitizer Spray SaniSoothe 2-oz. (#2OZ1000); ProRose’s No Touch Tool (#364); Kross Inc.’s OSHA-Approved Hard Hats (#HH-15)

National Nursing Assistants Week (June 17-23):  Berney-Karp Inc./Ceramic Source’s 15-oz. Ceramic Runway Mug (#E60-317); LimeLight’s Medium-Wide Bottom PolyPro Handle Gusset Tote (#PH-WT3)

Flag Day (June 14): Crystal World’s Stars & Stripes Optical Crystal Award (SP152M); Allied Products’ US Flag Medallion Flag Display Case (#83-28050); Cameo Line’s Patriotic Pencil (#650US-A)

Father’s Day (June 20): Laser Creations by Identification Systems’ Large Solid Maple Cutting Board (#CB1014); Laser Creations by Identification Systems’ Solid Hardwood Wall Clock (#WC409); Wolfmark’s Custom Knit Beanie (#C220K-790)

The exciting aspect about selling “Made in the USA” products is that it is relevant all year, for all activities and for all clients. 

Used with permission from PromoCorner

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