'Made in USA' bills: one moves, one stops

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, May 9, 2013 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

CMTA supports SB 661 (Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo) and AB 890 (Brian Jones, R-Santee) to allow manufacturers to label their products “Made in the USA” in circumstances when less than 100 percent of the content is sourced in the U.S. The federal government has a more flexible standard compared to California. The Federal Trade Commission says that “virtually all” components of a product have to be from the United States. All 49 other states use the federal government’s standard leaving manufacturers who cannot reach the 100 percent standard with the inability to sell products with that label in this state.

SB 661 requires at least 90 percent of the manufacturing costs for the product occur in the U.S. and the remaining 10 percent must be due to unavailability in the United States, and the product would have to be last manufactured or transformed in the United States. AB 890 would simply adopt the federal standard in California. 

A variety of labeling standards is unacceptable to manufacturers who sell products across state lines and risk litigation if a product finds its way to a consumer in a state with a stricter standard. This encourages no labeling at all, harming both consumers and the companies attempting to manufacturer as much as possible in the U.S. 

Both bills enjoyed long discussions in policy committees. There was sympathy for the manufacturers faced with this dilemma and the fact that the current law, in place since 1961, may be out of date because of the global nature of supply chains and the loss of some component part manufacturing from the U.S. Opponents said “truth in advertising” should not be watered down by these bills. AB 890 moved out of assembly committee but SB 661 failed in the senate committee. 

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