Governor Signs California’s Updated Made-in-USA Labeling Law

Governor Signs California’s Updated Made-in-USA Labeling Law

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Sept. 2 updating California’s anachronistic Made-in-USA labeling law to reflect how globalization had made it virtually impossible to source 100 percent of all products domestically.

Several sporting goods companies lobbied for the change, claiming a rash of frivolous lawsuits would force them to drop their Made-in-USA claims for want of a button, eyelet, zipper or other minor component that could not be sourced domestically.

SB 633 – Modernizing California’s “Made in USA” Labeling Standard updates California’s “Made in USA” labeling standard to reflect the real-world market in which companies make products using components from around the globe.

California’s “Made in USA” labeling standard was created in 1961 to “prevent foreign firms from taking advantage of ‘buy American’ promotions.” This was a different era, when the global economy was nascent. California is the only state in the country that establishes a 100 percent domestic requirement, meaning that all products used in a manufactured product must come from domestic sources. In today’s complex and global economy this is an unrealistic threshold for many modern companies that manufacture products with many different components, some of which may not be available domestically.

All 49 other states and the federal government use the more flexible “all or virtually all” standard for determining when a product is eligible to be labeled as “Made in USA.” This standard requires that the significant parts of a final manufactured product come from domestic sources. But, the standard also allows a product to contain a negligible amount of foreign sourced material.

“The Legislature – after 5 years of working on this issue – has finally undone an overly burdensome regulation that has hurt California manufacturers since the 1960’s,” said California Assemblyman Brian Jones, who championed the bill in the state assembly. “This onerous regulation was brought to my attention in 2010 by Vinturi, Inc, wine aerators made in Carlsbad, California. I’m pleased that Governor Brown signed this bill into law, allowing for manufacturers to market their products proudly displaying the “Made in America” label.”