The U.S. Congress has begun the process of reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of legislation aimed at increasing U.S. competitiveness and boost manufacturing in the semiconductor industry. The Senate version includes a Country-of-Origin Online Labeling provision, and PPAI has joined with a coalition of trade organizations in calling for its removal from the final draft of the bill.

The Promo POV: The liability introduces by the provision could be highly problematic for importers, especially regarding apparel and other products that are popular in the promotional products industry, because sourcing countries are constantly changing and cannot always be identified at the time a consumer makes an online purchase.

On Capitol Hill: In February, the House of Representatives passed the America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength Act of 2022 or the America COMPETES Act of 2022. The Senate had previously passed the similar United States Innovation and Competition Act, which addresses U.S. technology and communications, foreign relations and national security, domestic manufacturing, education, trade and other matters.

The Coalition Perspective: “We remain concerned about the broad impact that this provision will have on all retailers and sellers who operate in an online environment, whether they are a marketplace or just have an ecommerce website. Determining the country of origin for a product is an extremely complex issue that is determined through our trade laws and enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We do not believe the FTC has the ability to make appropriate determinations on the country-of-origin determination as required by the provision.”

Background:The Country Of Origin Labeling provision in the Senate bill requires online sellers to disclose the country of origin for any product sold over the internet.

  • The provision will create a new liability for retailers and sellers to not only post the required information but certify the accuracy of the information provided by product vendors.
  • The provision does not include a corresponding obligation for manufacturers, rights owners, distributors and sellers to provide the country of origin of their products to retailers selling the product.