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FTC RULING ON "MADE-IN-USA" SEEN AS SETBACK FOR NEW BALANCE
Published December 2, 1997
In an "about-face," the FTC won't "relax the half- century standard for making 'Made in the USA' claims on consumer-product labels," according to Bruce Ingersoll of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The proposal to overturn the decision "stemmed largely" from a '94 enforcement action that the FTC brought against MA-based New Balance, charging it with "deceptive advertising and labeling" because New Balance had imported outer soles from China for some footwear it claimed were U.S.-made. New Balance had then asked Congress for a more flexible U.S. origins standard. Today, the FTC will publish an enforcement-policy statement clarifying that any product bearing an unqualified "Made-in- USA" claim "should contain only a de minimis, or negligible, amount of foreign content" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/2). NEW BALANCE: In Boston, Chris Reidy reports that "in a world where most athletic shoes are made in Asian factories, New Balance maintains, it should be allowed to alert consumers that it remains committed to US workers." New Balance said it would not comment on "the possibility it may now have to relabel its shoes" until the FTC's decision has been reviewed by its lawyers (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/2).