United States: When Is It Okay To Label My Product As "Made In USA"?

In this era of "America First," there is a major push to increase the amount of manufacturing that happens in the United States, and buying American-made goods is viewed by many to be an act of patriotism. As a result, the promotion of a product as being "Made in USA" or "Made in America" can create a real marketing advantage that helps to boost the sales of the product. But when can a marketer properly label or promote a product as "Made in USA"?

Under U.S. laws and regulations, as a general rule, if a product undergoes its last substantial transformation1 in the United States, a marketer is not required to identify the country of origin for its products.2 However, if a marketer chooses to make a country of origin claim in the promotion or labeling of its products, such claim must be truthful and there must be a reasonable basis for substantiating the claim.

A marketer can make claims about the origin of its products in several ways. First, it can label its product as "Made in USA" or state in an advertisement that a product is "Made in America." This type of representation is an express U.S. origin claim.

Second, a marketer can make an implied claim of U.S. origin for its products. An implied claim of U.S. origin occurs when the overall net impression of an advertisement, label, or other promotional material is likely to cause customers to believe that the product is of U.S. origin even if there is no express "Made in USA" on the label or in the promotional material. For example, the marketer could include pictures of a U.S. flag and other U.S. references on product packaging in such a manner that would create the overall impression that the marketer is really claiming that the product is of U.S. origin.

The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") has authority over both express and implied claims of U.S. origin. Under the FTC's Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims, a marketer can only make an unqualified claim that a product is of U.S. origin if such product is "all or virtually all made in the United States." Federal Trade Commission, "Made in USA" and Other U.S. Origin Claims, 62 Fed. Reg. 63755, at 63768 (Dec. 2, 1997). A product that is all or virtually all made in the United States is a product "in which all significant parts and processing that go into the product are of U.S. origin," and the product should contain only a negligible amount of foreign content. Id. The marketer making a claim of U.S. origin must also have a reasonable basis for such claim and have competent and reliable evidence to support the claim. Id.

In determining whether the "all or virtually all" standard is met, the FTC considers several factors. First, the FTC considers whether the final assembly or processing of such product has occurred in the United States. Thus, for example, even if a product is primarily manufactured in the United States of U.S. content, if the final assembly of a product occurs outside of the United States (such as in Mexico or Canada), an unqualified "Made in USA" claim would likely be inappropriate. Instead, the marketer should qualify its "Made in USA" with a disclosure of where the final assembly of the product occurred. Id.

Second, the FTC considers the percentage of the total cost of manufacturing the product that is attributable to U.S. parts and processing costs and to foreign costs. There is no fixed percentage that must be attributable to U.S. costs. However, the lower the percentage of foreign content, the more likely that the FTC would consider the product to be all or virtually all made in the United States. Id. at 63768-68.

Third, in weighing the amount of foreign content in a product, the FTC will also consider how far removed the foreign content is from the finished product. For example, if the gold used to make a gold ring or the ceramic used to make a ceramic tile was imported from a foreign country, an unqualified "Made in USA" claim is likely inappropriate. The gold and ceramic make up a significant part of the final product and are only one step removed from the finished product. In contrast, if the plastic used to make the case of a clock radio was made from imported petroleum, but the radio was otherwise all or virtually all made in the United States, the imported petroleum is far enough removed and insignificant enough to the final value of the product to support an unqualified "Made in USA" claim. Id. at 63769.

Where an unqualified U.S. origin claim is not appropriate, a marketer may make a "qualified" claim. Qualified claims describe the extent, amount, or type of a product's domestic content or processing, and may be general or specific. For example, a general qualified claim about product content could simply indicate the existence of unspecified foreign content, as in "Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts." A specific qualified claim could indicate the percentage of U.S. content, as in "60% U.S. content," or identify the specific country from which the imported content comes, as in "Made in USA from French components." However, the FTC believes that all U.S. origin claims with qualifying information about foreign content should only be used if the last assembly, processing or finishing of the product occurred in the United States. Id. at 63769-70.

A marketer may also claim that a particular manufacturing or other process was performed in the United States or that a particular component was manufactured in the United States. Examples of this practice are claims that a product was "designed" or "painted" or "assembled" in the United States or that the picture tube of a television was made in the USA. Id. at 63770.

Marketers who are considering the use of a U.S. origin claim to promote a product should exercise care in making claims that their products are of U.S. origin, and ensure that they have competent and reliable evidence to support such claims. In fact, failure to comply with FTC requirements can be very costly. The FTC could bring an enforcement action against the marketer, and impose civil penalties, fines, consumer-redress proceedings, and a permanent injunction on the offending marketer. In addition, a competitor or consumer could also bring an action for false advertising and unfair competition under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125, and/or applicable state law against the marketer, and obtain damages, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees and costs. As a result, we recommend that a marketer seek the advice of IP counsel before using any "U.S. origin claim."


1 A "substantial transformation" is "a manufacturing or other process that results in a new and different article of commerce, having a new name, character and use that is different from that which existed prior to the processing." Federal Trade Commission, "Made in USA" and Other U.S. Origin Claims, 62 Fed. Reg. 63755, at 63757 n. 6 (Dec. 2, 1997).

2 There are specific country-of-origin labeling requirements for automobiles, textiles, wool and fur products that are the exception to this general rule.

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.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
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).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions