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Trade Groups Consider Next Step After FTC Responds to 'Made in USA' Request

Sep 11, 2014 11:25 AM   By JVC
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Press Release:  Responding to jewelry industry request for an advisory opinion regarding recycled metals, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stated that unless a marketer can substantiate that all components of a product – including natural resources – originated in the U.S., it should not advertise the product as “Made in the USA.”

The FTC issued its response on September 9, 2014. In June of this year, four trade associations, along with the Richline Group, requested an advisory opinion from the FTC stating that jewelry created with metals that were recycled in this country could be advertised as “Made in the USA.” The four associations were the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, Jewelers of America (MJSA) and the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA).

The FTC’s standard for advertising a product as “Made in the USA” is that the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. “All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. Marketers advertising a product as “Made in the USA” must be able to substantiate the claim. For products made of precious metal this can be very difficult if the metal was mined abroad, or if the origin of the metal is unknown.

The trade associations and Richline asked the FTC to focus on products made from metal recycled in this country, and to allow those products to be advertised as “Made in the USA.” The request for the advisory opinion was based on the fact that upon recycling in the U.S., metal begins a new life cycle, with a new origin in this country, regardless of where it was originally mined.

In its response, the FTC cited available consumer research showing that almost three in five U.S. consumers believe that “Made in America” means that all parts of a product, including any natural resources it contains, originated in the U.S. The research also showed that 33 percent of consumers believe that 100 percent of a product must originate in a country for that product to be called “Made” in that country.

The FTC included in its response that its staff is available to help craft qualified claims that avoid deception, while highlighting the work done to recycle precious metal in this country. The trade associations and Richline are considering further steps, in accordance with the FTC’s response. That response, as well as the original request, will be posted to the public commission website at http://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/closing-letters-and-other-public-statements/staff-closing-letters.

Jewelers Vigilance Committee, founded in 1917, is a not-for-profit legal trade association fulfilling its mission to maintain the jewelry industry’s highest ethical standards. JVC offers dispute mediation and arbitration services for trade and consumers, compliance monitoring and precious metals testing, among many other services. JVC, long considered the industry’s guardian of ethics and integrity, is a resource for the entire jewelry industry and its customers as well as an industry representative before government agencies, media and adjunct fields. For more information visit: www.jvclegal.org.

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Tags: federal regulations, Jewelers Vigilance Committee, jewelry making, JVC, made in the usa, Manufacturing
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