National Jeweler Network

Public Policy & Issues

Industry asks FTC for leniency on ‘Made in USA’

By Brecken Branstrator

June 19, 2014

New York--Four trade associations and the Richline Group sent a request to the Federal Trade Commission asking the body to allow jewelry made of metals recycled in this country to be labeled as “Made in America.”

Currently, the FTC’s standard to advertise a product as “Made in the USA” is that “all or virtually all” of the product must be made in the United States, meaning that all significant parts and processing that make the product must be of American origin.

Marketers using the “Made in USA” claim on advertising also must be able to substantiate that claim.

According to the trade associations, this can be difficult for products made of metal for a number of reasons, the first being that much of the metal used in jewelry manufacturing originally was mined in a foreign country.

Additionally, it is almost impossible to determine the origin of a metal once it has been refined or smelted.

The four trade associations--the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, MJSA, Jewelers of America and the American Gem Trade Association, along with Richline--are asking the FTC to allow products made from metal that has been recycled in America to be advertised using the “Made in America” vocabulary.

The groups said in a joint statement that the request for guidance was based on the idea that significant time and resources go into collecting recyclable materials, delivering it to refineries across the country, and then processing them to a purity level of nearly 100 percent.

They are emphasizing that the metal begins a new life cycle upon recycling as well as a new country of origin, regardless of where it previously came from and, for this reason, they argue that these metal products should be labeled as “Made in America.”

If the FTC grants this request, sellers could then make the claim as long as the can substantiate that the metal has been recycled at a domestic refinery.