With all the “make America great again” rhetoric continuously flying around, it seems now more than ever American shoppers are paying more attention to where their products come from. After all for a certain kind of shopper nothing shows one’s passive commitment to patriotism like a T-shirt bearing a “Made In U.S.A.” tag at the collar. Jussayin. Though what many shoppers may not know is that mark of origin doesn’t tell the whole story.
And while a Made In U.S.A. label sounds pretty cut and dry, this is when things can get hairy. How Stuff Works broke down the real story behind such labels as, Made In, Assembled In, Manufactured In, and Processed In U.S.A. Apparently those labels offer just an abbreviated story to a much, much larger journey. "The standard for products being labelled 'Made in U.S.A.' requires that 'all or virtually all' of a product is made in the U.S. That can mean different things depending on the product's manufacturing process,” said Scott Paul, president of Alliance for American Manufacturing in an interview with HSW.
For example, imagine the pair of shoes you’re wearing. To qualify for a coveted Made in U.S.A. birth story, the sole, laces, and metal grommets might come from, say, three different countries. However, because the bulk of the material is from the U.S. and it was partially assembled in the states, then a Made In U.S.A. label is sewn on with no problem. Rarely are products 100% made from the ground up entirely in the U.S.A. And considering the fact that many American companies are reinvesting in American-made goods, this is pretty good to know.
Things can get complicated behind the seams.