US Senate passes bill requiring country-of-origin labelling for products sold online

2021-06-18 17:54:41 Exim News

With a stealth provision that could have adverse implications for container shipping from China, the US Senate has voted to adopt an approximately $250 bn bill to counter China’s growing economic and military prowess. Known as the Country of Origin Labeling Online Act, or COOL Online Act, the provision would require country-of-origin labelling for any product sold over the internet.

Americans, perhaps not knowing the source of their purchases, have continued to pour money into goods made in China. But that is something the new legislation hopes to correct. Goods sold in person are required by law to display their country of origin, but current laws do not force online retailers to include this information about their products.

 The measure has the backing of manufacturers and marketers of goods in the US

The measure has the backing of manufacturers and marketers of goods in the US who say it would help them capitalise on growing consumer interest in domestically made products, as per a report.

Section 2510 of the USICA would create mandatory online country of origin declarations for internet sales of a variety of imported products, including foods, and would charge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with enforcing its provisions. Section 2510 could raise potential logistical and practical considerations for segments of the food industry, including how to handle mixed-origin lots and multisource distribution models.

Summary of Section 2510: Online country of origin labeling

Section 2510 would require country of origin labeling for online sales of a wide array of imported products. Section 2510 does this by requiring that all products subject to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) origin marking under the Tariff Act of 1930 (which broadly encompasses all foreign “articles” not exempted by Customs regulations) also be accompanied by online origin disclosures when sold online.

Required disclosures

Section 2510 would require that websites indicate “in a conspicuous place”:

The country of origin for the product, consistent with CBP marking requirements; and

The country in which the seller of the product is located (and the location of any parent corporation of the seller, if there is one)

Section 2510 also identifies several product categories for which existing federal law requires specialized origin labeling, including covered commodities subject to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s Country of Origin Labeling (AMS COOL) under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946. For products with more specialized origin labeling identified in Section 2510 (including those subject to AMS COOL), that more specialized origin information would also have to be included in the online disclosure(s).

Effective date

Section 2510 would become effective nine months after the date of enactment.

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