SP opposes EU plans for compulsory ‘made in’ label

19 October 2010

SP opposes EU plans for compulsory ‘made in’ label

This week the European Parliament votes on a proposal to make all products carry a label declaring their 'country of origin', a so-called ‘made in’ label. SP-Euro-MP Dennis de Jong hopes to see the defeat of a measure which he calls "typical of the self-indulgent dilettantism of a number of Euro-MPs, primarily some of the Italians. The consumer will in practice gain little or nothing from this. I'd rather see progress on the introduction of clear and reliable labels relating to such matters as fair trade, decent working conditions and respect for the environment."

Dennis de JongAccording to De Jong the proposal is based on the incorrect idea that a ‘made in’ label tells the consumer something about the way in which a product was manufactured. "Take the example of clothes, where you often see the label ‘made in Italy’. But there are sweatshops in Italy where illegally-employed workers assemble this clothing, so the consumer is being misled."

Italian clothing lobby

The real reason for the proposal is almost certainly nothing to do with concern for the consumer, as De Jong explains: ‘In the European Parliament Trade Committee there are coincidentally large numbers of Italians. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the real purpose of the proposal is to protect the Italian clothing industry. At the same time it will lumber other firms, especially small and medium-sized businesses, with unnecessary expense. That is unacceptable, especially in times of crisis." The proposal is in any case not going to produce the result aimed at, because only the last stage in the production process will count. If a piece of clothing is assembled in Italy from parts manufactured elsewhere, it will still be allowed to carry the label 'Made in Italy’. This aspect also will cause the consumer nothing but confusion.

You are here