Country of Origin Labeling Works


The Made in the USA Foundation’s priority has been to get consumers information about where products are made so that they can make informed purchasing decisions. Two recent phenomena demonstrates that country of origin labeling works to increase purchases of domestic products. First, the bad news. Because Congress and President Obama caved in to Mexico and Canada, we no longer have country of origin labeling for beef. When you buy hamburgers now they could come from any country in the world. They could be NAFTA burgers, or Brazilian burgers or Australian burgers. As a result, US cattlemen have lost $20 billion in sales annually. Americans want to buy American beef, but are unable to determine where the meat is coming from.

The French Connection

Now, the good news. The French are allowed to have country of origin labeling for meat and dairy products. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that, “A French food-labeling rule co-written by Mr. Macron when he was economy minister has gutted dairy imports from Belgium, Sweden and Germany. All six (sic) countries are members of the EU.” The food-labeling requirements French President Emmanuel Macron co-wrote were meant to help French milk and meat producers, core constituencies of Ms. Le Pen’s far-right National Front party. The law, which took effect in January 2017, requires meat and dairy products sold in France to identify the country of origin, rearing and processing. Failure to comply can result in fines of as much as €1,500 ($1,760).

COOL Works

People around the world prefer to buy locally made and grown products. It’s greener, fresher and helps you neighbors. Belgian packaged-milk exports to France fell 24% in the first half of 2017 from the same period last year, the most recently available data. As of the end of September, also the most recent data, Swedish dairy exports to France were down 25% from 2016. This is directly attributable to the French law written by President Macron.

What We Should Do to Expand Country of Origin Knowledge

Congress could pass a law that requires newspapers, magazines, Internet ads, television and radio advertisers to note the country of origin on all products advertised. For example, a Toyota ad for a Camry would say, “Built in the United States.” On the other hand, a Toyota ad for a Prius would have to note that it is “Made in Japan.” General Motors’ ads for the Buick Envision crossover SUV would be required to tell potential buyers that it is “Made in China.” How many blue-collar workers will pay hard-earned cash for a Buick that they know is made in China?

Most consumers don’t realize that Buicks, that old American nameplate, are made in China, South Korea, Canada and Poland, yes Poland. Buick’s only convertible, the Cascada, is made in Gliwice, Poland.

The Foundation, an original sponsor of COOL (the Country of Origin Labeling Act) has proposed COOLER, the Country of Origin Labeling Expansion and Reform Act. This act would apply COOL to all products, and require advertisers to include a country of origin designation in all print, Internet and broadcast advertising. This law does not impose tariffs, it only seeks to inform consumers so they can make knowledgeable purchasing decisions.

Congress has broad bipartisan support for COOLER. The COOL coalition put together 108 co-sponsors from both parties in the House of Representatives and easily passed the Senate. Democrats and Republicans can come together to help domestic farmers and factories, without adding any red ink to the national debt.

Joel Joseph is chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American-made products. Email Phone 310 MADE-USA

From The Progressive Populist, Febuary 2, 2018

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