There is no brand as iconic and more respected by the American consumer than the label “Made in America.”
For a product to bear that label legally, according to the federal definition, all of the materials, or virtually all, must be from the US and all labor to make the item must occur in the United States.
Unfortunately, companies and individuals skirt the law everyday by importing items illegally labeled “Made in the USA.” But to learn that the U.S. Military has been a victim of this practice or that a potential future commander-in-chief has been accused of that illegal enterprise is very disappointing.
The U.S. Military's "Bootgate"
The Pentagon, because of the complexity of military equipment they purchase and the large quantities of other items required, is often forced to go outside the US and secure items made in foreign counties.
But Congress in recent years has put more and more pressure on the military to buy American made goods. Sometimes that pressure can backfire.
For years, executives and employees of Tennessee defense contractor Wellco Enterprises supplied boots for our troops to wear in and out of combat with the assurance that they were made in the good old USA.
When it was revealed the boots had been actually coming from China all along, the government took action. Indictments were handed down recently in the U.S. District Court in Greenville, Tennessee against five former employees and principals of Wellco.
The alleged crimes took place between December 2008 and August 2012. According to the Defense Department, the sales of thousands of Chinese-made boots amounted to more than $138 million over that time period.
Athletic Shoe Maker May Benefit From WWII Era Law
An obscure law from 1941 may force the U.S. Department of Defense to purchase sneakers from New Balance, an American shoe company, for the first time.
The 1941 law known as the "Berry Amendment" stipulates that the Pentagon must purchase American-made gear and uniforms for its recruits. Since all U.S. athletic shoe companies like Nike produce their shoes in foreign counties, the military was free to shop for the best prices around the world.
New Balance, however, can now claim they manufacture their shoes with US-made material right here at home. Their lawsuit to force the Pentagon to buy their US made shoes is now in the courts.
Trump Criticized For Not Manufacturing In The U.S.A.
Coming into question recently is Trump's line of men’s suits. A reporter for Buzzfeed discovered both ‘Imported’ and ‘Made in USA’ labels in the same suit line.
To prove their charge, Buzzfeed ordered several suits through Amazon.com from the online retailer featuring Trump’s men’s apparel. Upon receiving the Trump brand suits, the items were labeled as having been made overseas. The advertising information on Amazon, however, said they were made in the USA. Once this report was made public, Amazon quit offering the line of Trump’s so called made-in-USA suits.
Trump’s presidential slogan of “Make America Great Again” sounds good and has drawn a lot of support from voters. His promise to bring back jobs to America and impose huge tariffs on imported goods appeals to a lot of people who have lost jobs because of American companies leaving the US to operate in foreign countries.
But like many politicians and people of power, too often they take the position of “do as I say, not as I do.”
Donald Trump is a perfect example of this double talk when dealing with his own image and “Made in the USA” branding.
In July of 2015, Macy’s dumped the line of Trump branded shirts and ties over remarks Trump made about Mexican immigrants. Several weeks later, David Letterman had Trump on his television show as a guest.
After lecturing Letterman on the value of buying Made in America goods in order to make our country great again, the nighttime TV host held up a packaged TRUMP labeled shirt and asked him where it was made. Trump looked puzzled, hesitated and then listened for the answer.
“Indonesia,” Letterman said. Trump shrugged and smiled sheepishly.
“How about the tie you’re wearing?” Letterman then asked.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Trump responded as he flashed the red tie at the studio audience.
“They’re all made in China,” Letterman said bluntly.
Again Donald Trump shrugged without answering.
The question remains if he is promising to charge a 35 percent import tariff on all Ford vehicles that are made in Mexico after the auto giant moves there assemble plants there next year, will Trump impose a similar tax against his own imported products?