NRF sees 'made in USA,' even in imports

A new report (titled "Rethinking Made in America in the 21st Century") from the National Retail Federation suggests that imports may contain more U.S. components than the label reveals.

That includes all imported products sold in the U.S., and the components could include any number of parts or content that support American jobs.

The reason why? Federal law provides that products can't bear the "Made in America" or "Made in USA" stamp unless American workers manufacture the product and "all or virtually all" of the parts are made on home turf.

"This report looks at retailers’ worldwide sourcing of merchandise not just as a global supply chain but as a global value chain,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “It shows the value added at each step along the way, not just in manufacturing but from the initial concept to the finished product. Even in a product that says ‘Made in China,’ much of what goes into that product is ‘Made in America.’ That means millions of American jobs for American workers regardless of what the label might say.”

Among the study's findings are some fairly staggering figures -- apparel products contain over 70% U.S. value on average, and some foreign-brand automobiles contain up to 95% U.S. content, even though there are no U.S. cars with more than 75% U.S. content.

The iPod, as another example, has $162 in American content and $4 in Chinese content, though it's labeled "Made in China."

Additionally, 11.2% of U.S. employment was sustained by global supply chains in 2008.

The report was prepared by Laura M. Baughman, a Washington economist specializing in international trade as well as president of The Trade Partnership.

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