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Made in the USA


Have fun with this one!
-Mr. Huge

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The Standard For Unqualified Made In USA Claims

What is the standard for a product to be called Made in USA without qualification?

For a product to be called Made in USA, or claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifications or limits on the claim, the product must be "all or virtually all" made in the U.S. The term "United States," as referred to in the Enforcement Policy Statement, includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories and possessions.
What does "all or virtually all" mean?

"All or virtually all" means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. That is, the product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.
What substantiation is required for a Made in USA claim?

When a manufacturer or marketer makes an unqualified claim that a product is Made in USA, it should have — and rely on — a "reasonable basis" to support the claim at the time it is made. This means a manufacturer or marketer needs competent and reliable evidence to back up the claim that its product is "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.
What factors does the Commission consider to determine whether a product is "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.?

The product’s final assembly or processing must take place in the U.S. The Commission then considers other factors, including how much of the product’s total manufacturing costs can be assigned to U.S. parts and processing, and how far removed any foreign content is from the finished product. In some instances, only a small portion of the total manufacturing costs are attributable to foreign processing, but that processing represents a significant amount of the product’s overall processing. The same could be true for some foreign parts. In these cases, the foreign content (processing or parts) is more than negligible, and, as a result, unqualified claims are inappropriate.
Example: A company produces propane barbecue grills at a plant in Nevada. The product’s major components include the gas valve, burner and aluminum housing, each of which is made in the U.S. The grill’s knobs and tubing are imported from Mexico. An unqualified Made in USA claim is not likely to be deceptive because the knobs and tubing make up a negligible portion of the product’s total manufacturing costs and are insignificant parts of the final product.
Example: A table lamp is assembled in the U.S. from American-made brass, an American-made Tiffany-style lampshade, and an imported base. The base accounts for a small percent of the total cost of making the lamp. An unqualified Made in USA claim is deceptive for two reasons: The base is not far enough removed in the manufacturing process from the finished product to be of little consequence and it is a significant part of the final product.
What items should manufacturers and marketers include in analyzing the percentage of domestic content in a particular product?

Manufacturers and marketers should use the cost of goods sold or inventory costs of finished goods in their analysis. Such costs generally are limited to the total cost of all manufacturing materials, direct manufacturing labor, and manufacturing overhead.
Should manufacturers and marketers rely on information from American suppliers about the amount of domestic content in the parts, components, and other elements they buy and use for their final products?
If given in good faith, manufacturers and marketers can rely on information from suppliers about the domestic content in the parts, components, and other elements they produce. Rather than assume that the input is 100 percent U.S.-made, however, manufacturers and marketers would be wise to ask the supplier for specific information about the percentage of U.S. content before they make a U.S. origin claim.
Example: A company manufactures food processors in its U.S. plant, making most of the parts, including the housing and blade, from U.S. materials. The motor, which constitutes 50 percent of the food processor’s total manufacturing costs, is bought from a U.S. supplier. The food processor manufacturer knows that the motor is assembled in a U.S. factory. Even though most of the parts of the food processor are of U.S. origin, the final assembly is in the U.S., and the motor is assembled in the U.S., the food processor is not considered "all or virtually all" American-made if the motor itself is made of imported parts that constitute a significant percentage of the appliance’s total manufacturing cost. Before claiming the product is Made in USA, this manufacturer should look to its motor supplier for more specific information about the motor’s origin.
Example: On its purchase order, a company states: "Our company requires that suppliers certify the percentage of U.S. content in products supplied to us. If you are unable or unwilling to make such certification, we will not purchase from you." Appearing under this statement is the sentence, "We certify that our ___ have at least ___% U.S. content," with space for the supplier to fill in the name of the product and its percentage of U.S. content. The company generally could rely on a certification like this to determine the appropriate country-of-origin designation for its product.
How far back in the manufacturing process should manufacturers and marketers look?

To determine the percentage of U.S. content, manufacturers and marketers should look back far enough in the manufacturing process to be reasonably sure that any significant foreign content has been included in their assessment of foreign costs. Foreign content incorporated early in the manufacturing process often will be less significant to consumers than content that is a direct part of the finished product or the parts or components produced by the immediate supplier.
Example: The steel used to make a single component of a complex product (for example, the steel used in the case of a computer’s floppy drive) is an early input into the computer’s manufacture, and is likely to constitute a very small portion of the final product’s total cost. On the other hand, the steel in a product like a pipe or a wrench is a direct and significant input. Whether the steel in a pipe or wrench is imported would be a significant factor in evaluating whether the finished product is "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.
Are raw materials included in the evaluation of whether a product is "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.?

It depends on how much of the product’s cost the raw materials make up and how far removed from the finished product they are.
Example: If the gold in a gold ring is imported, an unqualified Made in USA claim for the ring is deceptive. That’s because of the significant value the gold is likely to represent relative to the finished product, and because the gold — an integral component — is only one step back from the finished article. By contrast, consider the plastic in the plastic case of a clock radio otherwise made in the U.S. of U.S.-made components. If the plastic case was made from imported petroleum, a Made in USA claim is likely to be appropriate because the petroleum is far enough removed from the finished product, and is an insignificant part of it as well.
Qualified Claims

What is a qualified Made in USA claim?

A qualified Made in USA claim describes the extent, amount or type of a product’s domestic content or processing; it indicates that the product isn’t entirely of domestic origin.
Example: "60% U.S. content." "Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts." "Couch assembled in USA from Italian Leather and Mexican Frame."
When is a qualified Made in USA claim appropriate?

A qualified Made in USA claim is appropriate for products that include U.S. content or processing but don’t meet the criteria for making an unqualified Made in USA claim. Because even qualified claims may imply more domestic content than exists, manufacturers or marketers must exercise care when making these claims. That is, avoid qualified claims unless the product has a significant amount of U.S. content or U.S. processing. A qualified Made in USA claim, like an unqualified claim, must be truthful and substantiated.
Example: An exercise treadmill is assembled in the U.S. The assembly represents significant work and constitutes a "substantial transformation" (a term used by the U.S. Customs Service). All of the treadmill’s major parts, including the motor, frame, and electronic display, are imported. A few of its incidental parts, such as the handle bar covers, the plastic on/off power key, and the treadmill mat, are manufactured in the U.S. Together, these parts account for approximately three percent of the total cost of all the parts. Because the value of the U.S.-made parts is negligible compared to the value of all the parts, a claim on the treadmill that it is "Made in USA of U.S. and Imported Parts" is deceptive. A claim like "Made in U.S. from Imported Parts" or "Assembled in U.S.A." would not be deceptive.
U.S. origin claims for specific processes or parts

Claims that a particular manufacturing or other process was performed in the U.S. or that a particular part was manufactured in the U.S. must be truthful, substantiated, and clearly refer to the specific process or part, not to the general manufacture of the product, to avoid implying more U.S. content than exists.
Manufacturers and marketers should be cautious about using general terms, such as "produced," "created" or "manufactured" in the U.S. Words like these are unlikely to convey a message limited to a particular process. Additional qualification probably is necessary to describe a product that is not "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.
In addition, if a product is of foreign origin (that is, it has been substantially transformed abroad), manufacturers and marketers also should make sure they satisfy Customs’ markings statute and regulations that require such products to be marked with a foreign country of origin. Further, Customs requires the foreign country of origin to be preceded by "Made in," "Product of," or words of similar meaning when any city or location that is not the country of origin appears on the product.
Example: A company designs a product in New York City and sends the blueprint to a factory in Finland for manufacturing. It labels the product "Designed in USA — Made in Finland." Such a specific processing claim would not lead a reasonable consumer to believe that the whole product was made in the U.S. The Customs Service requires the product to be marked "Made in," or "Product of" Finland since the product is of Finnish origin and the claim refers to the U.S. Examples of other specific processing claims are: "Bound in U.S. — Printed in Turkey." "Hand carved in U.S. — Wood from Philippines." "Software written in U.S. — Disk made in India." "Painted and fired in USA. Blanks made in (foreign country of origin)."
Example: A company advertises its product, which was invented in Seattle and manufactured in Bangladesh, as "Created in USA." This claim is deceptive because consumers are likely to interpret the term "Created" as Made in USA — an unqualified U.S. origin claim.
Example: A computer imported from Korea is packaged in the U.S. in an American-made corrugated paperboard box containing only domestic materials and domestically produced expanded rigid polystyrene plastic packing. Stating Made in USA on the package would deceive consumers about the origin of the product inside. But the company could legitimately make a qualified claim, such as "Computer Made in Korea — Packaging Made in USA."
Example: The Acme Camera Company assembles its cameras in the U.S. The camera lenses are manufactured in the U.S., but most of the remaining parts are imported. A magazine ad for the camera is headlined "Beware of Imported Imitations" and states "Other high-end camera makers use imported parts made with cheap foreign labor. But at Acme Camera, we want only the highest quality parts for our cameras and we believe in employing American workers. That’s why we make all of our lenses right here in the U.S." This ad is likely to convey that more than a specific product part (the lens) is of U.S. origin. The marketer should be prepared to substantiate the broader U.S. origin claim conveyed to consumers viewing the ad.
Comparative Claims

Comparative claims should be truthful and substantiated, and presented in a way that makes the basis for comparison clear (for example, whether the comparison is to another leading brand or to a previous version of the same product). They should truthfully describe the U.S. content of the product and be based on a meaningful difference in U.S. content between the compared products.
Example: An ad for cellular phones states "We use more U.S. content than any other cellular phone manufacturer." The manufacturer assembles the phones in the U.S. from American and imported components and can substantiate that the difference between the U.S. content of its phones and that of the other manufacturers’ phones is significant. This comparative claim is not deceptive.
Example: A product is advertised as having "twice as much U.S. content as before." The U.S. content in the product has been increased from 2 percent in the previous version to 4 percent in the current version. This comparative claim is deceptive because the difference between the U.S. content in the current and previous version of the product are insignificant.


If that gave you a headache look up what consitutes a "Swiss Made" watch.... that'll make your eye twitch.


"All or Virtually all..."

This is just an Orwellian doublespeak way to blur the lines and make things just ambiguous enough. We see the same thing in food labeling. Big Agriculture decided it doesn't like taking the hit by small independent Organic farmers, so it had congress pass a law with the same ambiguity for labeling requirements - i.e. you can't really trust labels, you need to research and KNOW the companies you're patronizing. Thanks to the internet, that is getter easier and easier for the consumer to be informed and much harder for the snakes to hide in the grass.

Ask yourself, what is the motive and who benefits? Truth thrives in honesty and light, deception requires darkness and ambiguity. If a consumer wants to support 100% Made in the USA or 100% organic, he should be entitled to know.


I should add that it is very positive news that the tide is turning with consumer knowledge. This past Christmas saw record sales and requests for Made In USA toys, so much so that most manufactures ran out months before Christmas and could not fill orders past a certain point. The majority of these manufactures do not hide behind a phrase like "virtually all."

Most recently, I have also overheard people talking about supporting Made in USA in the grocery store lines and even the girl who cut my hair BROUGHT UP the topic! We're not talking about an enlightened college graduate, she was your average cowpoke from podunk. All it will take now is the longer recession and possible depression, and the backlash will deepen and widen.


I doubt that it drives down anything form Gibson or Fender. They always manage to use that 'Made In the Good Old USA" to ask outrageous prices. I can still afford a used Fender but Gibson on the other hand is just way way way over priced IMO. Gibson's also don't play like they use to. I often wondered where they get their electronics from. The cases are Made In Canada but with the Canadian dollar is running kneck and kneck with the US dollar, I wonder how long before they are also Made in China. At one time this year the Cnadian dollar was worth more than the US. Making cases in Canada is a loss.


It would seem that a mahogany LP might not be unqualified USA. Especially the faded $700 ones that have less of other materials in them. But there is enough wiggle room in the definition to get past that.

Don Rusk

BearFoot FX Owner
Just about the only time %100 of your purchase money in the US is to buy vintage,used,recycled whatever :AOK

But yes Ive been harping on my wife for years to stop buying all the chinese plastic cr*p and she is finally 'getting' it..... as was mentioned one good thing to come out of the coming hard recession will be a possible reconsideration of our national cash flow :AOK (I hope) cheap stuff is a hard addiction to break.


Hmmm, again with the misinformation…

I can tell you that every single pedal sold by Dunlop is hand assembled in Benicia California…
-Mr. Huge

That's good to know Jeorge! Anyone who knows your legacy knows you will stand for quality. But I don't think the poster was aiming for Dunlop, it sounds like he meant your generically (businesses who outsource in gerneral) based on the FTC definition. At least that's how I read it. :)


starfish, you may be right since applescruffs remarks were not addressed to anyone. If so, I apologize. If not, I stand by my statement.
-Mr. Huge


Silver Supporting Member
Its simple. Do all you can in the usa. If your saying way huge is going to be built with hand or machine in california then fantastic. If your saying the cases are being machined by hand just like the past in california then fantastic. If your saying damn man I just can't get usa made parts but I am doing everything else I can here in the usa then fantastic.

But, if you get enclosures and stuffed boards with foreign components shipped into california for final assembly which takes 5 minutes then not so fantastic.

Support the usa as much as you can. Thats all.

I think manufacturing could stay here in the USA and make a profit, just not as much as upper management wants. I hate the paper tiger buisness model with the throw away mentality of "lease everything and lets make as much quick money with our product without making an investment in the local economy and building equity for the future".

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