Time and again, Americans’ health and safety have been put at risk by dangerous products imported into the U.S., such as toys that contain lead, cadmium, and even asbestos, toxic drywall, contaminated drugs, and countless other safety lapses. Yet when these problems cause harm, consumers face the daunting challenge of holding foreign manufacturers accountable for the damage.
While U.S. manufacturers must comply with American laws and safety regulations or face our nation’s judicial system, the same standards do not apply to foreign manufacturers, who may not have representatives in this country taking responsibility when problems arise. And when no one is accountable, no one is safe.
While foreign manufacturers continue to export billions of dollars worth of merchandise to all 50 states, they avoid legal responsibility by claiming they are not subject to the U.S. legal process. There is something wrong with a system that allows these corporations to profit from American consumers, but escape accountability when their products cause harm.
Foreign manufacturers should have to play by the same rules as American manufacturers and should not be beyond the reach of our judicial system. When foreign manufacturers are not held to the same standard as American businesses, both consumers and American manufacturers suffer.
The bipartisan Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act of 2013 [H.R. 1910], introduced by Congressmen Matt Cartwright [PA-17] and Mike Turner [OH-10], would allow injured consumers to hold a foreign manufacturer accountable in the U.S. judicial system.
- This bill will level the playing field between U.S. and foreign manufacturers by ensuring that all manufacturers that do business in the U.S. are held accountable for the safety standards mandated in our legal system.
- The legislation requires a foreign corporation that does business in the U.S. to have a registered representative in the U.S. who would accept service of process for civil and regulatory claims. The manufacturer, by accepting service of process, would also be consenting to U.S. jurisdiction.
- Imported products regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are covered by the legislation (The House version also includes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).) This includes imported drugs, devices, cosmetics, biological products, consumer products, chemical substances, and pesticides.