Made in the U.S.A.
According to a survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, if given a choice, over 75 percent of Americans would prefer to purchase a product made in the U.S.A. versus foreign made.
Respondents cited their desire to protect domestic jobs, concern over child labor laws, and overall product quality as their reasons. And, they were even willing to pay ten to twenty percent extra for it. Now, as the cost of American-made products has become increasingly competitive, more consumers are closely scrutinizing labels and choosing "Made in America," but what does that really mean?
What "Made in the U.S.A." Means
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides definitions and guidelines for when a manufacturer can label a product as "Made in the U.S.A." This claim falls into two categories: unqualified and qualified.
Unqualified means that "all or virtually all" significant parts of the processing are of U.S. origin. While the finished product may contain a small amount of foreign ingredients or parts, they must be insignificant, like a knob on a hot tub. Companies must also be able to substantiate this claim.
Most of the confusion occurs with qualified claims. Qualified claims describe the amount, percent or extent of processing the final product. For example, "Chair assembled in the U.S.A. from Italian leather and frame from Costa Rica" would be an acceptable qualified claim.
When you buy Made in the U.S.A. you support...
- Job creation. One manufacturing job creates additional jobs for sales, marketing, accounting, and other back office support.
- Fair wages. Many countries have extremely low minimum wages, while products made domestically pay a fairer wage.
- Higher labor standards. Buying American supports a safe workplace along with labor laws protecting children, which are not enforced or non-existent overseas.
- A healthy environment. Certain countries are notorious polluters of land, water and air. When it comes to the environment, U.S. manufacturing processes are heavily regulated and typically cleaner. What's more, domestic products travel a shorter distance to get to their end destination, reducing the carbon footprint.
- Safety. Foreign safety standards are typically less rigorous. American-made products are tested and inspected to ensure they meet or exceed our safety standards and consumer protection laws.
- Quality products. When competing in a global economy, quality is often sacrificed in order to lower cost.
- A strong American economy. When you buy products made in the U.S., you help keep our economy growing by keeping American workers employed, creating a brighter future for the next generation.
- Patriotism. Buying American makes you feel good about contributing to our country.
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