Proposed new US legislation will impose new liabilities
on exporters to the US
According to press reports, the US Congress is moving ahead with
the Foreign Manufactured Legal Accountability Act
("Act") and the Act is likely to be
approved by the full Senate.
If passed, the Act would require foreign manufacturers of
consumer goods imported into the United States to establish
registered agents in the US who are authorised to accept service of
any documents regarding civil and regulatory actions
("Actions") in the US against such
manufacturers. Consequently, the Act requires that the US state
where the registered agent is located to have a substantial
connection to the importation, distribution, or sale of the
relevant goods. A publicly accessible register of such agents would
also be established.
In effect, the Act would require all foreign manufacturers of
consumer goods to register US agents or face a ban on the import of
their goods to the US.
Registering a US agent is not without its repercussions. It
would compel the foreign manufacturer to consent to the
jurisdiction of the State or Federal Courts of the US state in
which its agent is located in the case of any Actions. Therefore,
the Act would make it easier for foreign manufacturers of consumer
goods to be sued. This can be contrasted to the current situation
where the US 'importer of record', as the owner of the
goods, is the usual entity over whom the US exercises legal
The implementation of the Act would also require US Customs and
Border Protection to develop ways to determine who the actual
manufacturer is for purposes of appointing a registered agent.
These determinations may be complex and can depend heavily on the
manufacturing processes used to make the goods or the variety of
commercial relationships in place.
The Act will also require the US Department of Agriculture and
Food and Drug Administration to conduct a joint study into the
suitability and desirability of imposing similar requirements on
foreign food producers.
If the Act is passed, it will no doubt have significant impact
on all imports into the US and increase the potential exposure to
liability for exporters to the US. We will keep you updated.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The TPP could have a significant positive impact on the investment and financial services of Australia and Singapore.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).