As the holidays are quickly approaching, lawmakers and U.S. manufacturers are urging the Federal Trade Commission to tighten Made in USA labelling laws.

Reps. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) wrote to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons on Thursday, asking the FTC to follow through with its proposal to strengthen its Made in USA enforcement mechanisms and seek civil penalties against companies that deceptively claim their goods are Made in USA.

This is especially critical right now as advertising and online shopping dictate the consumer market.

“The Made in USA label empowers consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions and rewards American manufacturers that invest, employ, innovate, and produce in the United States, including many small businesses that can gain a competitive edge based on country of origin,” Pallone and Schakowsky write in their letter to the FTC. “This proposed rule is an encouraging sign of the FTC’s commitment to meaningful consumer protection through use of its rulemaking authorities.”

This comes months after Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote to the FTC in September to urge stronger Made in USA enforcement.

“Rebuilding consumer trust in the label requires strong enforcement and meaningful consequences for those who deceive consumers with misleading use of the label,” Pallone and Schakowsky state. “Unfortunately, too often the FTC has refused to take strong enforcement actions, showing potential violators that they can misuse the Made in USA label with impunity.  We appreciate the clarity provided by the proposed rule that violators are subject to civil penalties and encourage the FTC to include this provision in the final rule.  Such action would show that the FTC will use all the available tools to deter potential violators and make repeat violations less likely.”

Hopefully the FTC listens to these bipartisan voices and enacts stricter rules before foreign e-commerce sites take advantage of the U.S. market. and beat out U.S. manufacturers this holiday season.

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