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If a company wants to label its product “Made in the USA,” it had better beware of selling it in California, which may allow people to sue the company for using the label.
While the other 49 states adhere to federal standards allowing a product to carry the “Made in the USA” label if it is substantially manufactured in the U.S., California alone requires a product be 100-percent American made. Not a pin, not a screw can be made anywhere else.
In fact, in 2011 California’s Supreme Court affirmed in Kwikset v. Benson that the company Kwikset could be sued for using the label on one of its locks because the screws in it were manufactured in Mexico.
Far from protecting American manufacturers and consumers, however, even the Made in USA Foundation is warning California’s law is placing a chilling effect on American companies everywhere.
“In our new global economy it is virtually impossible to manufacture a high-tech product 100-percent in the USA,” explained Joel Joseph, chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation, in support of a California Assembly bill that would amend the law and bring the state into line with federal guidelines.
“The fact that California is the only state in the nation to have such rigid standards is a barrier to business,” added California Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, sponsor of the bill, AB 890, which was blocked in committee June 25 but has been granted reconsideration. “The inconsistency in law has resulted in difficulties for manufacturers because products legally labeled as ‘Made in America’ in the other 49 states can’t legally be sold here. This places the retailer and manufacturer at risk, and increases costs to separately label products for sale in California.”
After a similar bill was passed unanimously in the California Assembly last year, only to be killed by three Democrats in a State Senate committee, California manufacturer Mag Instrument Inc. – manufacturer of the popular Maglite flashlight – released a statement explaining how California’s current law effectively discourages companies anywhere from using the “Made in the USA” label.
“Unless they want to undertake the expense and risk of having one package for the other 49 states and a special package just for California, American manufacturers have no choice but to produce a 50-state package that complies with California’s unreasonably strict standard, under which it is almost never permissible for a product of any complexity to affix a ‘Made in USA’ label,” the company said. “This can mean foregoing the right to lawfully mark its product ‘Made in USA’ in the other 49 states.”
“It’s another example of the state legislature making it as difficult as possible to do business in California,” argued Tony Maglica, founder and owner of Mag Instrument Inc. “We now have another example why this state is such a terrible place to operate a business. … There are some state legislators who just don’t understand the realities of manufacturing in the age of the global supply chain. Some parts and materials you just can’t get domestically.”
“As law it makes no sense,” Jones said. “It’s a barnacle on the side of manufacturing in California.”
But laws hampering American businesses are not unique to California, notes Joseph Farah, co-founder of WND and a new project called American Made Stores.
“Joblessness and dysfunctional government go hand in hand,” said Farah. “Washington hasn’t done a single thing to improve the economic climate in America in years. So it’s time for Americans to act collectively to help each other.”
That’s the concept behind his American Made Stores, a partnership between WND and REKO, WND’s heralded online shopping fulfillment company – the one noted for its top-notch customer service at the WND Superstore.
The company was founded with this mission: “To rebirth American manufacturing while educating Americans about the importance of a strong and vibrant U.S.-based manufacturing economy by offering a unique, convenient, cost-saving and fun shopping experience for those wishing to find American-made products in one place. By rewarding companies who employ Americans working in factories on American soil, you can direct your purchasing power in a way that will not only benefit you and your family, but stimulate a manufacturing renaissance that will benefit your descendants and your country.”
Farah said it’s “a simple fact that American jobs requires American manufacturing.”
“You can’t expect one without the other,” he said. “Government places no value on American manufacturing. In fact, it does everything in its power to hinder the creation of manufacturing jobs and to place roadblocks in the paths of companies that would like to make things and sell things in America. American Made Stores, however, is about empowering Americans to support American manufacturing and to keep and create jobs right here at home.”
In addition to making it easy to find U.S.-made products of superior quality and with excellent pricing, which is no easy task in most stores today, goods in American Made Stores are graded and sorted by the percentage of American content and a manufacturers’ certification standard ensures against false claims. Through customer feedback, testimonials and ratings systems, American Made Stores can provide you with up-to-date consumer reports on American-made goods.
“Do you want to put your money where your patriotism is?” asks Janis Reed, another principal of American Made Stores. “Now you have a chance. We think it’s good to discriminate by buying American.”