SAN MATEO (KCBS) – For those who received holiday gifts with a label, “Made in the USA,” you might not know that in California, that actually means the product must be made entirely in America.

But a Bay Area legislator said that law is too stringent and is trying to water down California’s standards.

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San Mateo state Sen. Jerry Hill said the law is too tough, when it comes to what ‘Made in the USA’ really means.

“California’s actual threshold today is 100 percent of the product has to be manufactured in the Untied States of America to be able to claim it is Made in the USA,” he said.

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Most other states have far less restrictive laws, as does the Federal Trade Commission. Hill said that puts many California businesses at a disadvantage.

“In some case, in California, a company tries its best, tries to make sure that every part of its product is manufactured in America,” said Hill. “But those parts just aren’t available in America. So if there’s a negligible part that they can’t get in the United States, and they have to purchase it someplace, that shouldn’t preclude them from being able to establish and state that this was made in the US.”

SB 661 would allow goods containing foreign-made parts to be advertised as ‘Made in America,’ as long as the parts cannot be found in the United States, and as long as the foreign parts represent a negligible part of the final product.

Hill said though his proposal would ease restrictions for California companies, it would still be the most restrictive in the country.

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