General Opinion

Made Where?

In California, several retailers are being sued for mislabelling products that claim to be made in America. A judge recently ruled that the California law requiring such label accuracy was neither unconstitutional nor superseded by federal law. The retailers had sought to have the case tossed out, but the judge refused.

In the world of rapid communication of both positive and negative comments against brands, it is surprising that some retailers would look for technicalities to circumvent and/or avoid laws. Given the lengthy recession in the USA, and the fact that most job creation is at minimal wage level, there is clearly a move afoot to protect and create domestic jobs.

As a contrast, it is interesting to note that we do not often see “Made In Canada” labels, or for that matter, the controversy.

Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a good idea. It helps promote business and, for some, is a point of differentiation that will influence the buy decision. In the age of social media, though, those who promote Made In America, Canada or wherever better do it right, better be accurate in their labelling, and have materials that will back up their claims.

The challenge is many companies have outsourced to Asian countries or at the very least have substantial components to their products made in that world region. Hence, the new label “Assembled in the USA”. Not to add confusion to the debate, but in Latin American countries, where high duties exist for imported products, many domestic companies only assemble in their country as a means to avoid high importation tax, not as a means to provide local employment.