Trump Appointees Defy ‘Buy American’ Order, Protect Chinese Manufacturing

US President Donald Trump speaks after touring Snap-On Tools in Kenosha, Wisconsin, April 18, 2017, prior to signing the Buy American, Hire American Executive Order. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

President Trump’s hand-picked appointees for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defied his “Buy American” economic nationalist agenda in a recent case when they voted to financially protect companies who falsely claimed their Chinese-manufactured products were “Made in America.”

The case involved hockey puck seller Patriot Puck, based in New York, and outdoor gear brands Sandpiper of California and PiperGear USA, both based in California, for branding their products as “Made in America” despite being nearly entirely manufactured in China.

Patriot Puck, for instance, marketed their hockey pucks as “Proudly Made in the USA” and “100% American Made!” In fact, were “wholly imported from China,” according to the FTC.

Likewise, Sandpiper of California and PipeGear USA marketed their products as being “Made in America,” but 95 percent of Sandpiper’s products were imported from China as finished goods and 80 percent of PipeGear USA’s “either were imported as finished goods, or contained significant imported components,” according to the FTC.

While the FTC, with five total commissioners, ruled to prohibit Patriot Puck, Sandpiper, and PipeGear USA from marketing their products as being made in America unless the companies can prove that their products are fully manufactured in the U.S., Trump’s three appointed trade commissioners voted not to hit the companies with fines and penalties, force them to notify consumers of the false advertising, or mandate executives to admit wrongdoing.

Trump’s appointees — FTC Chairman Joseph Simons, Noah Phillips, and Christine Wilson — supported shielding the companies from financial penalties for their false “Made in America” marketing, while the two Democrat appointees, Rohit Chopra and Rebecca Slaughter, opposed the decision.

Coalition for Prosperous America CEO Michael Stumo told Breitbart News that Trump’s FTC hires should be put through a kind of screening process that removes non-economic nationalists from consideration for appointments.

“GOP globalists are a big threat to the economic recovery,” Stumo said. “President Trump’s nomination team needs to have a litmus test to screen out globalists when considering appointees. The president should now be tweeting about these America Last FTC commissioners as vigorously as he tweets against the Federal Reserve.”

Economist Alan Tonelson, who publishes a policy blog called RealityChek, told Breitbart News Trump should clean house across his administration.

“Once President Trump finishes ridding the Homeland Security Department and related agencies of appointees that seem determined to undercut his immigration policies, he can start cleaning out the Republicans he’s named to the FTC,” Tonelson said.

“Their wrist-slap approach to handling Buy America fraudsters is an open invitation to keep mislabeling their products and deceiving consumers,” Tonelson continued.

Simons defended his decision not to fine the companies, writing in a statement that the mere “threat” of financial penalties was sufficient.

Meanwhile, Chopra is advocating for strident enforcement of Trump’s “Buy American” agenda where companies, including first offenders, who falsely advertise as “Made in America” despite manufacturing overseas would be hit with a more than $42,000 fine per violation.

“I am concerned that no-money, no-fault settlements send an ambiguous message about our commitment to protecting consumers and domestic manufacturers from Made-in-USA fraud,” Chopra wrote.

America First Policies adviser Curtis Ellis told Breitbart News that false “Made in America” advertisements for Chinese-manufactured products are “the biggest fraud being perpetrated against Americans” today, calling the FTC decision “indefensible.”

“China is notorious for counterfeit products,” Ellis said. “It is indefensible for anyone to use the American flag to defraud American consumers and it is equally indefensible for the FTC not to throw the book at those who do.”

In 2017, Trump signed the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order to stimulate business growth for companies manufacturing in the country rather than overseas and who hire American workers instead of importing foreign guest workers to take U.S. jobs.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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