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The European Commission is considering a proposal to allow a product “Made in” label to be displayed only if at least 45 per cent of the product’s “value content” comes from the country specified.  While the proposal is unlikely to pass (see Germany and Britain and good luck defining “value content” in a standard way), it’s a nice opportunity to consider problems with labeling and geographic branding.

“Now that it’s commonplace for a single purse to be made in three countries, any label that names a single place is likely to be misleading—under the old system or under a new one.” –Renuka Rayasam

Many luxury companies take liberties with “Made in” labels as source materials from one country are routed to another country for intermediate work and then routed to a final country for assembly. Even Shinola, with its great brand story, transports materials into Detroit for final assembly. Sometimes location branding delivers a higher price point, but in most cases, labeling leads to a certain expectation of quality that may not align with actual experiences. Good things to consider next time you’re shopping…or setting up a supply chain.

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