The EU must make the use of "made in" origin labels on goods imported from third countries mandatory, MEPs reiterated in a plenary debate and vote on Thursday. They objected to the Commission's plans simply to withdraw the proposed "made in" regulation, which was strongly backed by Parliament in 2010, and asked it either to change its mind or to table an alternative.

Since member states have failed, to agree on mandatory origin labels for goods such as clothing, shoes, jewellery and glassware imported from third countries, the Commission must find other ways to level the playing field for EU manufacturers and their third country competitors, say MEPs. Only mandatory "made in" labelling enables buyers to make informed choices.

No double standards

In the debate, MEPs pointed out that countries such as Brazil, China and the USA do have compulsory origin marking schemes for imports of these goods.

"We cannot have double standards in globalized market. We must ensure that the rules are fair, for our citizens, consumers and manufacturers", said Cristiana Muscardini (ECR, IT) who led Parliament's co-legislative work on the "made-in" proposal.

International Trade Committee chair Vital Moreira, (S&D, PT) pointed out that the initial goal had been "to prevent the use of false or misleading labels, so as to put us on an equal footing with our trade partners".

Stop the cover-up

Other MEPs cited the "particular interest" of multinationals in "some big EU countries" in using "misleading or no claims of origin to cover up environmental and social dumping". Failure to impose "made-in" labelling would be a "setback for consumer rights" and a "missed opportunity to protect jobs in Europe", they said.

Try again

Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said that after seven years' work on the "made-in" rules, the Commission had to admit that "this legislation is set for failure" and it was "very clear that it is not going to find a majority in the Council".

The Commission should nonetheless table a revised text on "made in" labelling, in line with recent WTO rules, to enable consumers to make informed choices,  says the resolution.

Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution