The Consumer Reports of Made in America
Boston, MA (PRWEB) September 12, 2013
Economic Information Exchange Company announces upcoming phone application to be delivered in October. The phone application will allow consumers to scan products bar-codes and, if available, see its Economic Impact Rating. But why is a rating important?
At a time when even the United States' Olympic uniforms were "Made in China", Americans are asking, can buying "Made in the USA" really create jobs and economic growth?
Many researchers believe it can. Jeff Faux, a researcher from the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, in Washington, D.C., says, “Consumers need to understand that all jobs and wages are interconnected.” He says, “When you buy foreign goods—and sometimes there’s no choice—it means that fewer U.S. workers will have the money to buy the goods and services you sell.”
So, if we buy anything that says “Made in the USA”, we’ll be okay?
A February 2013 Fox Business Report, doing research on “Made in the USA” labeling and advertising, found labeling practices are often deceptive, if not outright false. They concluded that their evidence "shows that if not misled, consumers are at least confused”.
This is because qualifying for “Made in the USA” labeling is easy to do. In fact, as detailed in a July 2013 article in Parade Magazine, you don’t have to qualify at all. No third party is checking a company's qualifications off and saying "okay, go ahead now". Rather, companies can put a “Made in America” stamp on their packaging, signage, and advertising—and only when a complaint is brought against them do they have to show documentation to prove their claims.
If brought to court, they will need to show documentation that the product is “all or mostly” from America, and the company must have evidence to back it up. Sadly, the documents often show their “made in the USA” status is misleading, or in some cases, outright false.
What are companies doing? According to a January Fox Business Report, they will import all of their materials and inputs, to only assemble the product in a factory in America, and stamp it as “American Made Clothing”, "American Made Boots" or “Made in the USA toys.”
As reported on in an September 4, 2013 article on The Verge, currently, if an import combines materials or processing from more than one country, the Federal Trade Commission considers the country of origin to be the last country in which a “substantial transformation” occurred—for example, the place where a computer was fabricated, not the country that supplied most parts. This leaves room for substantial error and fraud that could mislead, or outright lie, to consumers. All products and services can fall into this problem.
Why does the level of American Made-ness matter? What's that mean for impact on America's economy?
Anthony Comito, American Made expert and founder of the Economic Information Exchange Company, claims, "A product like, for instance, Google's new Moto X phone, which is assembled in Texas but is made of mostly foreign parts, creates one or two factories for assembling. This employs American workers and management. In the Moto X's case, about 2,000 jobs are created-- and that's great-- however, with the Moto X phone's inputs all being foreign made, a large portion of the purchase price goes to jobs and economic growth in foreign countries. If the inputs had been sourced from the United States, it would have created numerous American factories, jobs and economic growth all along the phone's supply chain. Having these supply chain factories in turn creates demand for businesses to service the factories and their employees. The factories need cleaning and maintenance services; employees need restaurants to dine at, stores to buy from, cars to drive, so on and so forth. Differences in where products inputs are sourced can have profound economic effects that consumers should be aware of."
With pants made in Vietnam labeled as “authentic, active, outdoor, American”; a T-shirt with the words “Made in the” above the U.S. flag coming from Mexico; and the Moto X with its "designed and assembled in America" marketing campaign--- How does a consumer navigate such murky waters?
The Economic Information Exchange Company is looking to help. They've created the "American Economic Impact Rating", a patent-pending method for communicating a product's or service's economic impact to the United States. In other words, just how American made is it? The rating considers several factors including where the labor came from; origin of the materials and inputs, overhead, charitable contributions, tax contributions and more. Using this data, a rating is determined on a 5-star scale. The more stars, the larger the portion of the purchase price being captured by the American economy and poised for economic growth.
Mr. Comito, CEO of the Economic Information Exchange Company-- an accountant and creator of the American Economic Impact Rating-- thinks, "Consumers using their wallets have the power to shape the economy—and the future of America. They just need detailed and accurate information to use in their purchase decisions." In that regard, the American Economic Impact Rating claims to be “Consumer Reports for Made in America”.
When asked about what people can do to help, Mr. Comito says, "Lots of things. Download the Phone App in October; Like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter; email us; tell us what you want to see ratings for-- anything to show companies that their customers care". They're currently asking Facebook and Twitter fans which products, services or companies they want to see ratings for. He says, "If something comes to mind, get on there and tell us." "We hope to cover all kinds of American made products some day; American made knives, American made Boots, American made furniture, American made jeans, American made toys, American made cars". "I could keep going", he says.
We hope he does.
Bloomberg.com; September, 3, 2013; http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-30/google-s-all-american-moto-x-phone-contains-few-u-s-made-parts.html
Fox Business; January, 2013; http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2130137377001/how-accurate-are-made-in-america-labels/
Parade; August 2013, http://www.parade.com/150071/joekita/the-return-of-made-in-the-usa/
The Verge, July 2013; http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/24/4549624/made-in-america-2-behind-new-tech-patriotism