Most British brands currently using a ‘Made in Britain’ label in their products will no longer be able to do so if new European Commission ideas go ahead
In a ludicrous new proposal by the European Commission (as reported in today’s Sunday Times), plans are underway to change the way that goods are labelled, so that it is the most expensive element of a product that defines its country of origin, not the country in which it was put together. With the majority of products made in the UK, from cars to clothes to electrical goods, containing a large proportion of imported components, this would mean that there will be very few products available to buy that were labelled as ‘Made in Britain’. What’s more, for businesses flouting these rules, the EU plans to impose huge fines, possibly amounting to 10% of annual turnover.
Just looking through the Make it British directory of brands that carry the Made in Britain label in their products, I can see that 90% of these would have to lose their current labelling. Here is just a few examples of the impact that it would have:
- Dege & Skinner suits, made in Savile Row, from cloth woven in the UK but from wool from Australia, would have to be labelled as made in Australia
- Crockett & Jones shoes, made in Northampton for over a hundred years, but from Italian leather, will have to be labelled as Made in Italy
- David Malik Chandeliers, made in London from Czech crystal, will have to be labelled made in the Czech Republic
- House of Dorchester chocolates, made on the Duchy of Cornwall’s Poundbury estate in Cornwall, from cocoa beans from West Africa, will have to be labelled as Made in Africa.
You get the idea.
In the week that it was announced that British exports are have risen to £80 Billion because non-EU countries can’t get enough of goods with the ‘Made in Britain’ label in, this is a slap in the face for UK manufacturing. Whilst the European Commission say that they are doing this to make country of origin clearer for consumer, how much more confusing can it be for customers than buying a Savile Row suit with a Made in Australia label in it?
Hopefully this stupid EU idea will go nowhere – the German’s are also pretty unhappy about it – but if it does come to fruition it makes me wonder whether I should just pack this all up and go home!
What do you think? Do you think that thisEU idea has any chance of going through? Would you think twice about buying luxury chocolates if they were labelled Made in Africa? If you could afford a Savil Row suit would you buy one if the label said Made in Australia? Please leave a comment below.
Hello, I'm Kate Hills
I’ve been passionate about UK manufacturing ever since I had my own recycled clothing company and micro-factory in the early '90s! After 20 years as a designer and buyer developing products all over the world, I launched Make it British to support creative small businesses that want to make sustainably and locally.
Over the last ten years, I've helped 1,000s of businesses to work with UK manufacturers. Now it's your turn!