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“Made in Britain” tags not for the snip

September 2nd, 2013

The Sunday Times published on 1 September our letter correcting its report on 11 August (behind paywall) that had alleged that changes proposed to the rules on the country of origin of products would mean that, for example, bags made in the UK from leather made in Italy would no longer be able to use a “Made in Britain” tag. In fact, the proposed changes aim to reinforce the value of such tags to manufacturers, retailers and most importantly customers by ensuring that nearly all products have a clear indication of country of origin, which is not the case at the moment.

The MailOnline/ThisisMoney, however, chose to recycle the very same three-week old, inaccurate story the very same day that the Sunday Times gave us the welcome opportunity to correct it. Into the bargain, the MoS disingenuously quoted a Commission spokesperson describing the proposal as a “good idea” without making clear that what he was so describing was the actual proposal and not the Mail’s incorrect version of it.

The full text of the letter to the Sunday Times – which we will now request the Mail on Sunday also to publish -was as follows:

‘Made in Britain’ tags do not ‘face the snip’ (Sunday Times 11 August). On the contrary, the European Commission is proposing – MEPs and Member States will collectively decide – that country of origin be clearly marked on most consumer products, not currently the case. This will mean consumers are better informed, protect UK and other EU businesses from unfair competition and improve traceability. It will not mean major changes to criteria for deciding where a product is made. It will not mean value added will be the sole determinant, as the article suggested.

A handbag produced in the UK from Italian leather will still be ‘Made in Britain’. Fabric produced in Yorkshire from raw New Zealand wool will remain ‘Made in Britain’ , too. And the value of these labels will be strengthened.

Mark English
European Commission Office in London

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Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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