Last month, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced an act that would require e-commerce sites to be more transparent with consumers about where their products are made. The Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) Online Act would update labeling laws so that online sellers are required to disclose the country-of-origin of their products.
Unlike in stores, online products don’t currently have any requirements for including country-of-origin and seller location information. This act would give Americans a chance to purchase goods that are made in America instead of unknowingly buying from overseas sellers.
“Regardless of whether shopping online or in a store, Americans have a right to know whether the products they buy are being made right here in America, by American workers,” said Senator Baldwin. “With more and more consumers buying their goods online, we must ensure online retailers are being just as transparent as brick-and-mortar stores. My bipartisan legislation will fix our outdated labeling laws to promote transparency for Americans shopping online, and to help boost the American businesses and manufacturers selling their goods through online retailers.”
The COOL Online Act will update labeling laws for the e-commerce era by amending the Federal Trade Commission Act. Specifically, the bill requires:
- The country-of-origin labeling for a product, as required by existing law, be clearly and conspicuously stated in the website’s description of the product
- Clear disclosure of the country in which the seller of the product is located (and, if applicable, the country in which any parent corporation of such seller is located) in the online product listing.
“American consumers should know where the products they buy are made. Last year, I introduced the PRIME Act to require online retailers to list the country of origin for each product they sell, and I’m proud to partner with Senator Baldwin today on the COOL Online Act as we work to create more transparency in the online retail space so consumers can make informed choices for themselves and their families,” said Senator Scott.
Now more than ever, transparency on e-commerce sites is necessary for Americans to make conscious decisions about where their money goes. The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the American shopping experience so that the majority of consumers shop online. If the legislation isn’t passed, there would be a risk of small American businesses losing sales while big outsourced companies grow bigger.
To learn more about the act, click here.