Problems Abound Abroad

U.S. regulations regarding “Made in USA” labels are lacking at best, but they still are ahead of those in Europe.

Although European Commission has floated proposals for “country of origin” labels on consumer products that are sold in the European Union, it has done no better than to update its food laws to require country-of-origin labels for unprocessed meat.

The EU commission wants to bring a similar standard to consumer goods, such as appliances, clothing and devices. According to a March 2014 statement by Antonio Tajani, who is the vice president of the commission, the European Union’s lack of a labeling standard creates an air of distrust in the European economy. If manufacturers have no obligation to indicate the origin of their products, he argues, it’s advantageous to “unfair businesses, which use fake labels or no labels at all.”

Although individual EU countries tried to introduce rules on product-origin labeling, European Commission claims that those efforts floundered amid concern about differing rules from country to country. To avoid confusion on a country-by-country basis, Tajani says, an overreaching standard is necessary. It’s unknown when—or whether—the commission might pass such a product-origin labeling standard.