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Made In the USA. Personal pride?  Cashing in on the pull of patriotism? Whatever your reason, this simple statement can hold a great deal of marketing clout. Before you go slapping the words on all your marketing materials, however, be sure you know the Made In The USA rules.

Whilst it is a great marketing tool, Made In The USA is actually a country of origin label regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Which means that if you want to use it, you have to play by their rules.  FTC enforcement applies to all forms of advertising, marketing and promotional materials. This includes digital and email marketing.

All or Virtually All

The most important of the FTC Made In the USA rules is that the product you are advertising actually is made “all or virtually all” in the United States. What does his mean though?

In short, it means that all major parts and processing that go into the product must originate in the United States. There should be nothing, or barely anything, that would be considered foreign content. The final assembly of the product must also take place within the United States.

Expressed or Implied

Don’t think that you can get around the FTC’s Made in the USA policies by just saying it another way. The folks that put these regulations together are smarter than that.   The FTC Made in the USA rules state that the claim can be either expressed or implied.

Expressed claims can be anything that suggests the same meaning as Made in the USA.  For example, American-made’ would be subject to the same regulation. You are still making a claim of country origin.

Implied claims can result from the use of U.S. symbols or geographic references. Examples of these could be United States flags, outlines of U.S. maps or making reference to a headquarters or factories located in the United States.

More Made In the USA Rules for Marketing

If you feel secure that the product you are marketing does qualify for a Made In the USA label, the next step is to take a look at the latest FTC enforcement statements to make sure you are following the most up to date information.

These statements also explain, amongst other things, what to do if the product you are marketing is partly produced in the United States but not enough to clearly state the USA as it’s origin.

Here are some recommended FTC documents:

Complying with the Made in the USA standard

Selling ‘American-Made’ Products? What Businesses Need to Know About Making Made in USA Claims