Chinese Nets and Bolts Ensnare Basketball Hoops in Litigation

by Timothy Aeppel, Wall Street Journal

basketball 320 x 213_ccFederal Trade Commission guidelines say an unqualified “Made in USA” label can go on any goods that are “all or virtually all” made domestically. But the FTC doesn’t define what “virtually” means. Some companies use a rule of thumb that if 70% or more of the value of a product is made domestically, it qualified as American made.

But that’s a problem in California, which has the strictest guidelines in the country. If even one rivet in a larger product is foreign, state law says it amounts to false advertising to call it U.S. made. …

“California does better on many kinds of consumer and environmental laws,” says Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California, which has fought several efforts by manufacturing groups to amend the state’s strict law. “We like to feel we set a higher standard.”

His response to Lifetime is that if it wants the benefit of the label, it should accept the cost of making all the parts domestically. …

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[Sidebar:]
New Balance Acknowledges Shoe Materials Aren’t All U.S. Made

New Balance – the iconic U.S. sneaker maker … acknowledges that only about 70% of the value of its U.S.-made shoes reflects domestic content and labor … apparently clashing with what the U.S. government says can be labeled “Made in USA.” …

“We look at the New Balance shoe case as clear proof that the federal law is not being enforced,” says Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California. California has a state standard that requires products must be 100% U.S.-made in order to qualify for the label.

Mr. Holober says his group has fought bills to set a percentage, such as 70% or 75%, for calling something American made as well as “conformity bills,” which would make California’s rule harmonize with the federal standard. …

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