On ‘Made in America,’ Trump’s F.T.C. Appointees May Be Out of Step With Him

Two more companies, Sandpiper and PiperGear, manufacturers of deployment bags and tactical gear, marketed their wears to active and retired American military personnel, branded themselves online as #MadeInUSA, and put “American Made” tags in some of their products. In reality, most of those goods were also manufactured in China, according to the commission.

Mr. Trump’s handpicked chairman of the commission, Joseph J. Simons, defended the decision not to impose penalties on the companies. In a statement, Mr. Simons said “the threat of significant penalties” going forward had “been largely successful in keeping companies under order from making deceptive ‘Made in U.S.A.’ claims.” He argued that the decision was consistent with how the commission had dealt with similar cases in the past, and said it was a “strategic choice” to use the commission’s “limited resources” simply to make sure the companies did not break the law in the future.

But on Tuesday, one of the Democratic commissioners who had previously sided with Mr. Simons changed her position. “I am persuaded that we should seek disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and an admission of liability in these cases,” Rebecca Kelly Slaughter wrote in a dissenting statement. “And I understand that, if the companies refuse to agree to such terms, we would have to expend substantial resources for, and take on the risk associated with, litigation.”

The more stringent penalties, Ms. Slaughter said, “would send an unmistakable message that there will be meaningful consequences for brazenly mislabeling wholly imported products as American-made — even the first time that a fraudster gets caught.”

The agency’s other Democratic commissioner, Rohit Chopra, is taking the crusade against violators a step further, attempting to change the agency’s entire approach to handling “Made in America” violations.

Mr. Chopra, in a dissenting statement, argued that the F.T.C. was given the authority to activate steep penalties on first-time violators since the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed in 1994 but has simply never used it. Mr. Chopra said he wanted the trade commission to activate a legal switch to “turn on” penalties that would make violators pay $42,530 in fines per violation, starting on the first offense.

In many cases over the past two decades, settlements with companies that violated “Made in America” rules were subject only to record-keeping and reporting requirements to make sure they did not violate the law again.

“We cannot effectively protect honest businesses and promote fair competition if there are no consequences for violating the law,” Mr. Chopra said in his dissenting opinion. “Given troubling trends in today’s economy, I intend to make a motion to pursue a Made in U.S.A. rule that would allow the commission to seek meaningful penalties against those that harm law-abiding companies that make goods in America.”


more recommended stories

  • President Trump Cancels Trip to Denmark After Greenland Spat

    WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday.

  • Why the 2020 Criminal Justice Debate Is Completely Different

    Marijuana would be decriminalized, mass incarceration.

  • As Wildfires Get Worse, Insurers Pull Back From Riskiest Areas

    “It’s not necessarily the property that’s.

  • Julián Castro Qualifies for the Next Democratic Debate

    The former housing secretary Julián Castro.

  • Trump’s Rollback of Auto Pollution Rules Shows Signs of Disarray

    That means the process is now.

  • On Politics: Trump Prepares for Economic Trouble

    • Justice Department lawyers told the.

  • Jill Biden, Stressing Trump Matchup, Makes a Blunt Case for Her Husband

    Jill Biden laid out the political.

  • Apologies and Scorn Greet News of a Book by Mark Halperin

    Reports of a new book deal.

  • ‘I Am Sorry for Harm I Have Caused,’ Warren Tells Native American Forum – Video

    Channels & Shows Home Search U.S..

  • Elizabeth Warren to Appear at Native American Forum

    SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Senator Elizabeth.

  • ‘I Can Still Smell Him’: For 4 Legislators, This Law Is Personal

    Yuh-Line Niou told no one for.

  • On Politics: Trump’s Economic Conspiracy

    As the economy shows ominous signs,.

  • In Economic Warning Signals, Trump Sees Signs of a Conspiracy

    And signs of damage from Mr..

  • Julián Castro’s Obama Moment – The New York Times

    Mr. Castro divided his remarks into.

  • After Trump Body Shames Him, Supporter Says ‘I Love the Guy’

    Sometimes the self-declared greatest counterpuncher in.

  • U.S. Can Block Migrants Seeking Asylum, but Only in Some States, Appeals Court Rules

    A federal appeals court said Friday.

  • House Panel Will End Recess Early for Gun Safety Votes

    WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee,.

  • Lawmakers Accuse State Dept. of Defying Federal Law by Missing Deadlines for Yemen Reports

    WASHINGTON — In defiance of federal.

  • Debate Flares Over Afghanistan as Trump Considers Troop Withdrawal

    Skeptics say it is naïve to.

  • Trump’s Pittsburgh Speech Was a Paying Gig for Audience

    Thousands of union workers at a.

  • How Stephen Miller Rode an Anti-Immigration Wave to the White House

    Once a lonely cause, restrictionism had.

  • Israel’s Alliance With Trump Creates New Tensions Among American Jews

    A rabbi in St. Louis Park,.

  • In D.C., Trading Politics for a Paddle

    We launched into the Potomac River.

  • Joseph Kennedy III Said to Be Eying Edward Markey’s Massachusetts Senate Seat

    Mr. Kennedy delivered the Democratic response.

  • Eyeing Greenland, Trump Again Mixes Real Estate With Diplomacy

    WASHINGTON — Go ahead and file.

  • Peace Road Map for Afghanistan Will Let Taliban Negotiate Women’s Rights

    WASHINGTON — Roya Rahmani is neither.

  • After Trump Body Shames Him, Supporter Says ‘I Love the Guy’

    Sometimes the self-declared greatest counterpuncher in.

  • Fact-Checking Trump’s New Hampshire Rally

    What Trump Said “We have incredible.

  • Israel Says Rashida Tlaib Can Visit to See Her Grandmother

    This is a developing story. Please.

  • On Politics: Israel Denies Entry to Congresswomen

    • Despite ringing declarations of support.

  • Economic Trouble Signs Hang Over Trump’s Trade War

    WASHINGTON — Against the backdrop of.

  • The Law Israel Used to Keep Omar and Tlaib Out

    Israel’s decision on Thursday to bar.