June 16, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, today will testify in favor of the Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act at a U.S. House hearing.
Ami Gadhia, policy counsel for Consumers Union, will testify in favor of the bill (H.R. 4678) on behalf of CU and the Consumer Federation of America at the hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.
The bill would help American consumers hold foreign manufacturers accountable for defective products. Currently, when consumers are harmed by foreign-made products such as Chinese drywall, they are unable to seek redress against foreign manufacturers because these entities are out of reach of the U.S. civil justice system. The legislation would require foreign manufacturers to have a registered agent in the U.S. so that there would be a U.S.-based entity to accept delivery of claims by American consumers.
“In the United States since 2006, more than 75 percent of recalled products were manufactured outside the U.S.,” Gadhia said. “But under the current legal system, it can be difficult if not impossible for a consumer to hold a foreign manufacturer accountable. If you’re harmed by am unsafe product, it shouldn’t matter whether the manufacturer is foreign or domestic. Plus, U.S. companies shouldn’t have to compete against unscrupulous foreign manufacturers that skimp on safety. This bill levels the playing field for all manufacturers by ensuring that all of them are held to the same standards.”
The legislation covers certain categories of products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), such as children’s toys; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including prescription drugs and medical devices; and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), such as pesticides.
The Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act was introduced by U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Ohio and has 62 co-sponsors.
David Butler, Consumers Union, 202-719-5916