Newest Trump Administration Initiative Pushes for "Made in USA" Goods, But Wait ...

U.S. President Donald Trump is looking for ways to defend American-made products by certifying legitimate U.S. goods and aggressively going after imported products unfairly sporting the "Made in America" label, the White House said on Tuesday. Trump, who campaigned on reviving the U.S. manufacturing sector, has since vowed to crack down on "predatory online sales of foreign goods" hurting U.S. retailers. 

This is something Trump alluded to with the release of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) released its 2017 “Special 301” Report, a first for the Trump administration, detailing how intellectual property is being protected – or better yet, not protected – on a worldwide basis. The report, which was released in May echoed some of the language put forth by President Trump in connection with his campaign and the first 100 days of his presidency, including a focus on the threat of “diminish[ment] of U.S. competitiveness around the globe … puts U.S. jobs at risk.”

"There's just too many examples of foreigners slapping on 'Made in America' labels to products and the worst insult is when they do it after they have actually stolen the product design," the official said. In addition to enacting an executive order in March that gave customs officials more authority to stop pirated and counterfeit items at U.S. borders, the White House has announced plans to work with the private sector on the new certification and verification system.

The fight against counterfeits is an important one. According to Reuters, "the United States loses about $300 billion a year to theft of intellectual property ranging from semiconductors to jeans, the official said." The threat associated with counterfeit pharmaceuticals and cosmetics is becoming more prevalent than ever, due to the ease with which counterfeit goods can be swapped in for the real thing on e-commerce marketplace sites and sold to well meaning consumers. 

Made in America

The push by the Trump administration for American-made goods, however, – including his inaugural plea to “Buy American and hire American” – is an interesting one, given that both Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka maintain eponymous brands that consist of garments and accessories that are anything but ‘Made in America.’

As noted by the Washington Post this week, as the Trumps stood on the inaugural stage, “A hulking container ship called the OOCL Ho Chi Minh City was pulling into the harbor of Long Beach, Calif., carrying around 500 pounds of foreign-made Ivanka Trump spandex-knit blouses. Another 10 ships hauling Ivanka Trump-branded shoes, cardigans and leather handbags bound for the United States were floating in the north Pacific and Atlantic oceans and off the coasts of Malta, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Yemen.”

Yes, unlike many 'Made in USA' or even 'Made in NYC' brands, such as The Row - Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's brand, which boasts a mission of supporting high-end fashion manufacturing in the US - the Trumps simply do not appear to share this passion. 

Unlike LVMH-owned Maiyet, Lela Rose, Cushnie et Ochs, Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, Rosie Assoulin,  Libertine, Naeem Khan, Pamella Roland, and Brandon Maxwell, among others - all of which manufacture in the USA, Ms. Trump’s company relies exclusively on manufacturing outside of the U.S. 

That's right. Unlike, Rosie Assoulin, Lela Rose, Milly, Rachel Comey, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Yeohlee, and Dannijo, among roughly 40 other brands - all of which boast Made in NY's official certification, which recognizes companies that do at least 75 percent of their production in the city - Trump merch is not made in New York. In fact, the Ivanka Trump brand manufactures exclusively in countries, such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China, where low-wage laborers have limited ability to advocate for themselves.

Her father’s collection of suits, shirts, and ties – all available on Trump.com – are similarly made abroad.

Unlike Mary-Kate Olsen, who told Newsweek several years ago, "I believe in manufacturing as close to home as possible," the Trumps are seemingly less interested in putting the administration's proposed policies into practice for their own brands.