SBD/2/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

FTC RULING ON "MADE-IN-USA" SEEN AS SETBACK FOR NEW BALANCE

          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).

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