Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Simpler, More Focused Fastener Quality Act Signed into Law

Commerce Secretary William Daley today announced that President Clinton has signed into law a series of amendments to the Fastener Quality Act which make the legislation more focused and less burdensome. With these amendments, the law clearly establishes protections against the sale of mismarked, misrepresented and counterfeit fasteners while eliminating unnecessary requirements. President Clinton’s enactment of the FQA occurs less than a month before U.S. industry was to be required to comply with existing regulations. Fasteners include screws, nuts, bolts and other devices used in critical products and systems such as automobiles, aircraft and tanks.

"Congress and the Administration recognized that the fastener industry has made major improvements in its manufacturing and quality control systems since the Fastener Quality Act was passed in 1990," Daley said. "The changes which we recommended recently after assessing the state of the industry were largely addressed by Congress."

A five-month Commerce Department study requested by Congress was completed in February 1999. The study’s results led the Department to conclude that the number and magnitude of problems with fasteners are a fraction of what they were when the law was passed. Among the reasons identified for this quality improvement were advances in fastener manufacturing technology and better procedures for military and civilian federal procurement of fasteners.

The new law as amended reflects many of the recommendations made in the February report. These include: limiting coverage to only high-strength fasteners, encouraging the use of recognized industry quality assurance systems, and streamlining paperwork reporting by allowing companies to transmit and store reports electronically.

To address another major concern raised in the February report—fastener fraud—Congress amended the law to create a hotline system to facilitate the reporting of alleged fraudulent actions or other violations; and added a fraud-like criminal offense for specific misrepresentations and falsifications.

The amended FQA assigns two specific registration and accreditation activities to the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST will continue to operate a voluntary program to accredit fastener testing laboratories. Additionally, accreditation organizations may submit their own registration and accreditation guidelines to the NIST director if they choose not to follow International Organization for Standardization guidelines.

Two other Commerce Department agencies, the Bureau of Export Administration and the Patent and Trademark Office, will likely retain the FQA responsibilities—primarily enforcement and recording of insignia, respectively—previously assigned to them.

The text of the amended FQA can be downloaded soon from the World Wide Web at Additional information—including the text of the February 1999 Commerce Department study of the FQA and a fact sheet detailing the major amendments in the final law—is available at the same website.

Released June 8, 1999, Updated January 8, 2018