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California makes "Made in USA" label more practical for manufacturers

By Sara Ehlers

Sep 14, 2015


Recently, the requirements on garment tags for items made in the United States have been enforced a little less strictly--at least in California. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into a law legislation that made the restrictions on the “Made in USA” label a little easier for California-manufactured apparel.

California SB633 will take effect in January 2016 easing “Made in USA” label requirements

The Senate Bill 633 will allow California manufacturers to attach the label declaring that the product was made in the country. The bill was introduced to California legislature by Sen. Jerry Hill and Assemblyman Brian Jones. It passed the Senate in May of this year and the Assembly in July. Previously, items needed to originate completely from the U.S. in order to have the “Made in USA” label. The newly passed bill allows for garments to have the “Made in USA” label even if all of the items that went into the manufacturing product did not come from the U.S. Before, according to the Federal Trade Commission, if some of the materials used for the product were imported, California law enforced manufacturers to include that information in the label. The new law will take effect starting January 2016.

The new law states that if less than 5 percent of the wholesale value garment is made from materials that are imported, it no longer has to be mentioned in the label. Due to this, manufacturers can more freely consider their garments “Made in USA” and accurately affix the label. This new regulation reflects the federal regulation on garments, which also exempts manufacturers from mentioning minor imported fabric components.

California changes strict requirements for garment labels

Due to the nature of this law before, California manufacturers had issues appropriating their products as “Made in USA.” There were controversies regarding this label that affected Macy’s Inc. in 2014. Last year in June, there was a case involving Citizens of Humanity where a customer filed a lawsuit against Macy’s for false claims regarding their label. Her argument was that the information was withheld from the customer, providing her to believe the jeans she purchased were not manufactured in the U.S. as displayed. The lawsuit is still currently in its process.

The law does provide good news for manufacturers. Now, manufacturers can impose the label with a 10 percent threshold regarding non-U.S.A.-made items including enclosures, buttons, thread, and zippers. Those were common items that were previously preventing California manufacturers from being able to use the label accurately. The impossibly high standard of having 100 percent of content made and produced in the U.S. will be less strictly enforced. The new California law will allow a more practical approach when it comes to labeling items and where they are made.