Made in America meaning

Updated, May 7, 2022 by contributing editors

What is the definition of American made or Made in USA? That is a simple question but the answer can be complicated.

American or Foreign made
Country of Origin Product Labeling

By definition the Federal Trade Commission (FTC); an independent federal agency formed to protect the consumer and promote competitive business practices, states that the “all or virtually all” standard must be upheld in order to qualify for a product to be American made or Made in the USA.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection laws state “every article of foreign origin entering the United States must be legibly marked with the English name of the country of origin unless an exception from marking is provided for in the law” (Publication # 0000-0539).
US law requires automobiles, textile, wool, and fur products to be labeled with domestic content information. “There’s no law that requires most other products sold in the U.S. to be marked or labeled Made in USA or have any other disclosure about their amount of U.S. content.” on compliance standards & meanings.” Link.
It seems in most cases, after visual inspection and not finding a foreign made mark, the ultimate purchaser would consider a product to be of domestic origin.

The all or virtually all Made in USA Label or Phrase is what most consumers, producers, and officials have a problem identifying with. For instance, much of our oil is imported and all plastic is made from oil, so if a product is made in the USA of plastic and other parts the FTC states the plastic is considered an insignificant part of the product (although it houses the device and its controls), because it is “removed from the finished product”; therefore the “Made in USA claim is likely to be appropriate”. But, the FTC states “were the gold in a gold ring, or the clay used to make a ceramic tile, imported, an unqualified “Made in USA” claim for the ring or tile would likely be inappropriate. This is both because of the significant value the gold and the clay are likely to represent relative to the finished product and because the gold and the clay are only one step back from the finished articles and are integral components of those articles.”

Confused yet? Look at how the state of California interpreted the phrase “Made in USA”; they ignored the virtually all phrase. They did not use common sense criteria and discouraged companies that are dedicated to the American made agenda from striving to even try to achieve a USA made ethic. According to a dissenting judge in the Benson v. Kwikset Corp. case, California has “intended to prevent practically every American manufacturer from being able to advertise that its products were made in America”; even the the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, would be considered not to have been US made! California law states that all of a products parts “down to the last screw” must be domestically produced in order to qualify for Made in America acceptance. Today these laws have now been changed: See SB 633, Hill. Consumer protection: “Made in U.S.A.” label.

As stated on the New York State Cornell University Law School website, according to the Federal Dept. of Transportation “A component is considered of U.S. origin if it is manufactured in the United States, regardless of the origin of its subcomponents.”

So you can see there are various degrees of interpretation for the phrase “Made in the USA”. In order to keep a unified definition of the “Made in USA” phrase between the states and the federal government, Senator Mike Lee [R-UT] introduced the Reinforcing American-Made Products Act of 2015. We encourage you to contact your representatives and ask them to support this type of legislation.

We at b4USA consider many product attributes for consideration in the determination of the use of an American made or “Made in USA” phrase. The most important feature is the product being manufactured or assembled here in the United States of America with the most environmental friendly developed domestic component content available.”There’s just no way to source all parts in America right now,” hopefully someday the resources will be available for products to be made with 100% USA sourced components.
The creation of American jobs and the re-investment of monies back into our US economy is very important.

In the American Listing Directory we take the word of the manufacturer or their representative advertising (through the stores or over the internet) if their products American made. In order to verify yourself if an item is foreign made, look for the “Country of Origin” mark. According to “Customs and Border Protection require on all imported products that the origin be in a conspicuous place where it can be seen with casual handling, so you should be able to find it easily while shopping in a store”. Always rely on current and updated manufacturer information and product packaging for accurate country of origin data. If you find a product that is made in USA, visit our Refer / Contact or UPC Bar Code page and let us know about it.

Please:) If you find a product on our website that is not made in America or misrepresented (Country of Origin may have changed), please notify us immediately through our Contact page or leave a “Review or Comment” at the bottom of the American Directory Post.

Note: You may also wish to review other US made laws for comparison of different applications and interpretations.
FTC Factors to consider when is a product “all or virtually all” “The product’s final assembly or processing must take place in the U.S…..”
Buy American Act~”applies to procurement’s of supplies and construction materials for the United States government, EST 1933″.
Buy America Act~”apply to purchases made by third-party agencies, using funds granted by a US federal agency” and is related to the mass transit procurement’s valued at over $100,000.00 (a section of the Buy American Act, EST 1983).
If a business chooses to claim that its product is made or “Built in the USA”, the FTC’s “Made in USA” standard may apply.


“My policy has been, and will continue to be, while I have the honor to remain in the administration of the government, to be upon friendly terms with, but independent of, all the nations of the earth. To share in the broils of none. To fulfill our own engagements. To supply the wants, and be carriers for them all: Being thoroughly convinced that it is our policy and interest to do so.”

~George Washington~

George Washington to Gouverneur Morris, December 22, 1795
Click here for link to letter.

Made in the USA, Made in USA Labels, Federal Trade Commission, FTC Rules, Country of Origin Labeling, Customs and Border Protection

One Response to Made in America meaning

  1. Avatar for William Hobin says:

    Everything made in China is subquality, i.e. mostly junk. It’s sad when you see American companies, (Ariens) for example, say that their product is A American made when all their engines are built in China.
    U.S. manufacturing jobs paid good salaries where you could raise a family here. Now, there are all these cheap service jobs paying low wages & everything is imported. I worry about my children growing up in this country.
    You watch, in 10 or 15 years China will be No. 1 in everthing,
    they are relentless while we just give them more of our money,
    @ money equals Power.
    Sad for USA,Sad for USA

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Last approved on May 7, 2022 by stevemoss