Know The Difference Between Made in USA and Assembled in USA?

Know The Difference Between Made in USA and Assembled in USA?

Made in USA. Three little words, with a not so little impact! These days, some companies will do anything to hide where their products are actually manufactured.  And they are getting clever. Companies will label their products as “Distributed By ABC Corp” and list a US address.  Others will label their products as “Produced By ABC Corp” and list a US address, seeking to obscure the origin of its products.  Some will only show the company name and address on the packages!

american made products, Know The Difference Between Made in USA and Assembled in USA?

Made in USA

Product is assembled in the U.S. Most parts or materials are Made in USA. For a product to be called Made in USA, it must be “all or virtually all” made in the United States,This includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories”All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing must be of U.S. origin. The product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.

Made in USA with Foreign & Domestic Components

Some materials or parts are Made in USA

Assembled in USA 

Imported parts put together in the USA

Packaging displays U.S.A. Flag, U.S.A. Map, the words “U.S.A.” or “American” are part of the brand name

This is an implied statement of American origin. Look for fine print to see where the product was actually made. Without such a statement it is questionable at best.

Distributed for, Manufactured for, or a Product of (COMPANY NAME)

Since this has no statement of American origin, actual or implied, it cannot be considered to be USA made.

It’s too easy to add Made in USA stickers to a Foreign made product to make them appear to be USA made. Not to mention that falsely labeling a product as USA made is against the law.

What is a qualified Made in USA claim?

A qualified claim describes the extent, amount or type of a product’s domestic content or processing; it indicates that the product isn’t entirely of domestic origin.

  • “60% U.S. content”
  • “Made in USA of U.S. and imported parts”
  • “Couch assembled in USA from Italian Leather and Mexican Frame”

Made in USA Certified, Made in USA Label, American Made Matters, Made in America Certified, Made in America, American Made CertifiedOf course, the best way to know is if the product is Made in USA Certified. CERTIFIED Inc. is the United States’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and independent 3rd party Certification Source for “Made in USA, Product of USA – Country of Origin Claims”. The CERTIFIED Technology team are experienced professionals with extensive, pioneering backgrounds in systems integration, software development, encryption, load balancing, electronic signatures, and data collections and national analysis… all on a worldwide scale who have developed a proprietary system of certification authentication, big data recovery and analysis.


Your customers will ask for USA-Made products because they know American manufacturing is a big deal – it supports over 17 million jobs across the country and contributes over 12% to U.S. GDP. Buying products with the Made in USA label keeps those jobs going, and keeps our economy thriving. And, when you buy a product made in the USA, you can be sure you’re getting American quality and not a cheap, foreign knock-off. So be ready to show customers your Made in USA products. Learn more about Made in USA Certification. OR Request a FREE Quote!

Have you come across some creative, yet deceitful labeling?  Let us know in the comments below.  If you have pictures, email them to us!

Source – US Federal Trade Commission

Updated: June 30, 2016




  1. My favorite deceptive claim is “Designed in California” or “American design” paired with “manufactured in China”.

  2. Excellent article. 100% correct. When we worked in Niagara Falls, someone brought up a stuffed animal and we looked at the tag. A big blue tag with a bald eagle and above it’s head it read “USA”, fine print said “Made In China”. Despicable!

  3. The distributed by—– is very confusing! I try to buy all made in USA products!

  4. It seems like “distributed by…” usually, if not always, means NOT American made? Is that accurate?

  5. へ〜

  6. I am on the phone with Amazon as I write this, asking them why the people they allow to sell on their site are not required to put down country of origin. Even Ebay makes you do that. And when asked skirt around and give you fiber counts and how soft the foam is??? Shouldn’t they be required to make suppliers enter this information when listing??

  7. Debra Zamost Says: March 30, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    I worked in a plant that made plastics. It was assembled in the USA but the materials came from China. I quit that job

  8. I used to work at Walmart in the electronics department, and we sold TVs from a company called “Element.” On each box was a very prominently displayed logo in red, white, and blue that said “Assembled in the USA.” Very misleading to our customers, but after a while they started to catch on to what it really meant. Elsewhere on the box in small print was, you guessed it, “parts made in China” or something to that end. Then again, this shouldn’t be much of a shock coming from the land of all things foreign-made.

  9. Ethelred1 Says: March 31, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    If we had a political system staffed by people who represented the American people instead of business interests, especially Wall Street, there would be clear legislatively mandated marks, but don’t expect that since they refuse to do it on food, etc. BTW, the two non-Trump Republican presidential candidates have either worked or had a spouse who had lucrative jobs at Wall Street banks, and Ms. Clinton is joined at the hip to Wall Street, a slight example being the munificent fees for speeches at places like Goldman, Sachs while ha! these rich, sophisticated people hang on her every word so as not to miss any of her sage advice.

    On the general subject of distinguishing foreign goods, the World Trade Assn. ruled within the last year that unless the US wanted to pay about $250 million (per year?) to Canada and Mexico we could no longer force meat importers from those countries to show the origin of that meat, and the U.S. immediately caved by agreeing not to do so, although it may not yet be in effect because the administrative side is moving at the usual glacial pace of the D.C. employees-for-life. But, none of it may matter since there’s been a law for a number of years that meat and fish at retail has to show the country of origin, and I ask you how often do you see such a label in your supermarket?

  10. Didnt I just recently hear that the good_for_nothings on Capital Hill passed something saying that we will no longer have labeling telling us where the mewilin grocery stores comes from ? I dont know about the rest of you but this frightens me !!

  11. Can anyone help me with the definition of Product of USA? I’ve looked for how that differs from Manufactured in the USA and can’t find the distinction. Thank you!!

  12. Why can’t Boy Scouts of America uniforms be made in the USA? The used to be. There is still an American Labor merit badge for BSA, I’ve taught it before when my shirt had an union label in the right hand shirt pocket. Not anymore.

  13. I’ve been seeing that the dog food labels are starting this “crafted” ? Trying to find food labeling is getting more time consuming! It should not take that long so many ways they list I’ve just been putting back on the shelf

  14. […] that are actually a bunch of imported parts with a small amount of U.S. value added. http://www.themadeinamericamovement….embled-in-usa/ 1989 Merkur XR4Ti 2014 Carlisle Ford Nationals – Merkur Club of America Preservation Award […]

  15. Mary Beckstrom Says: March 20, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I bought some “StriVectin-SD” from Zulily and it says “manufactured in the USA” yet the one I bought at Macy’s says Made in the USA. Now I am afraid to use it.

  16. Ronn Dunnett Says: April 8, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    In my industry there is a heavy reliance on imported metal parts. Part of the reason for that goes beyond just the price – there are also elements of expertise and quality and that is important to me. I wanted to maintain some level of North American content, so I moved some of my production to the USA. Now my products provide work for some Americans. It is a global economy and that is how it works in my industry. I realize there are those who try various ways to cheat the system, but at the same time, if there is a US component to the manufacturing process and I want my customers to understand that and I place very specific qualified Made in USA claims on the products I am playing by the rules and I am not trying to be deceptive. I genuinely value the craftsmanship that my USA team instills in the product. Why wouldn’t I want that known and where is the shame in that?

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