Blue Jeans Imports by LA Company Challenge Labeling Requirements

Blue Jeans Imports by LA Company Challenge Labeling Requirements

In 2010, JBlu Inc., a longtime Los Angeles clothing company, imported some 500,000 pairs of blue jeans from China in 11 shipments through the Port of Long Beach—all headed for retail stores around the country. Read more of this post

Will U.S. Get Buick Made in China?

Will U.S. Get Buick Made in China?

In 2013, General Motors polled some U.S. Buick dealers about their volume and model-mix expectations for a new vehicle: a compact crossover that has since been launched in China as the Buick Envision. Read more of this post

Jerky treats leave nearly 600 dogs dead in ‘mysterious outbreak’, FDA says

dog face

Federal health officials are warning pet owners to be cautious about feeding their dogs jerky treats as they continue to investigate a treat-related illnesses that has left nearly 600 dogs dead and sickened more than 3,000 others.

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday issued an alert to consumers about the illnesses and deaths tied to jerky treats from China. Officials say the exact cause of the illnesses remains unknown.

“This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement. “Our beloved four-legged companions deserve our best effort, and we are giving it.”

The agency has received reports from pet owners and veterinarians about jerky pet treat-related illnesses affecting 3,600 dogs and 10 cats in the U.S. since 2007. Approximately 580 of those pets have died, according to a news release.

The FDA noted a decrease in reports of illnesses earlier this year after a number of pet jerky treats were pulled from the market. Officials say the number of reports may have declined because fewer jerky treats were available to consumers.

Symptoms observed within hours of eating the treats include decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased activity, increased water consumption and increased urination, the agency said. Severe cases have involved kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding, the FDA said.

The agency urges owners of pets showing symptoms to consult a veterinarian and save any remaining treats and treat packaging for possible testing.

“Our fervent hope as animal lovers is that we will soon find the cause of—and put a stop to—these illnesses,” Dunham said.

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Made-in-China besieged in Latin America

Peru Image

 

On the very day that I arrived in Lima, Peru’s capital, I heard that people had burnt China-made clothes in the Gamarra market at the end of August. The next day, thousands of people demonstrated on the street, protesting that cheap Chinese clothes had destroyed their jobs.

Gamarra is one of the largest commercial markets in South America, employing tens of thousands of people. Many commodities there are made in China, especially clothes and textiles.

Two days later, I went to this crowded market, where the buildings have floor-to-ceiling windows with colorfully dressed mannequins. One can buy all kinds of commodities at stores on both sides of the street. If you look closely, you can see that most of the goods are made in China.

Jau Kin Siu, chairman of the Sociedad Central de Beneficencia China in Peru told me that there were three reasons for the clothes-burning incident. The clothing industry in Peru has been greatly affected by the Chinese imports. Some clothes traders try to report low prices at the customs and bring down the price of Chinese clothes. And dealers have suffered losses due to smuggling from neighboring countries.

In fact, Peru has strict restrictions on imported Chinese clothes. Although China and Peru have signed a free trade agreement, the clothing industry is excluded from the agreement.

Even so, Peru has felt the pressure from China’s clothing industry in recent years. It is considering starting an anti-dumping investigation into almost all clothing and textile products.

The impact of Chinese clothes on Peru reflects the tensions between China’s rise and global development, especially the development of emerging economies.

Peru’s official data shows that from 2005 to 2012, more than 14,000 clothing and textile factories were closed and over 94,000 people lost their jobs. These  were mostly family workshops and unable to compete with their Chinese counterparts at both national and international levels.

Similar things have happened in other South American countries. Made-in-China goods have been encountering more obstacles when entering the South American market and become the target of anti-dumping investigations.

Over the past decade, the economic relations between China and Latin America have been developing rapidly. Data from the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean shows that China invested more than $15 billion in Latin America in 2010, which was twice the amount between 1990 and 2009, and the investment scale is still expanding.

China’s investment undoubtedly injects a powerful impetus into the economic development of Latin America. But the similar nature of made-in-China and made-in-Latin America has resulted in a backlash.

The manufacturing industry in some Latin American countries has been shrinking in recent years, partially due to made-in-China goods squeezing them out of the market. Unless Chinese enterprises open factories there, they will encounter more trade barriers.

Globally, industrial complementarity is one of the main problems that restrain made-in-China goods from going global. The arrival of Chinese goods has had some positive impacts, like bringing down inflation. But if it harms people’s jobs, the reputation of Chinese goods, or even China itself will be affected.

Employment is high on the agenda in every country. Only when Chinese goods are cheap, well-made, and drive local employment can China’s image be improved.

The author is a senior editor with People’s Daily. He is now stationed in Brazil.dinggang@globaltimes.com.cn

Dehumidifiers made in China recalled due to millions in fire damage

China Dehuidifiers Recalled

On September 12, 2013 – the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an immediate recall of twelve different brand name faulty dehumidifiers. ..

They have caused millions of dollars in fire damage.

The firms have received reports of 165 incidents, including 46 fires and $2.15 million in property damage. No injuries have been reported according to the CPSC.

These appliances were sold at AAFES, HH Gregg, Home Depot, Kmart, Lowe’s, Menards, Mills Fleet Farm, Sam’s Club, Sears and other stores nationwide and in Canada, and online at Amazon.com and Ebay.com, from January 2005 through August 2013 for between $110 and $400.

“This recall involves 20, 25, 30, 40, 45, 50, 65 and 70-pint dehumidifiers with brand names Danby, De’Longhi, Fedders, Fellini, Frigidaire, Gree, Kenmore, Norpole, Premiere, Seabreeze, SoleusAir and SuperClima. Recalled model numbers and date codes are listed on the following web link.”

Recall information: Date: September 12, 2013Recall number: 13-28

Anyone owning any of these appliances is instructed to discontinue use immediately and return them for a refund. Under no circumstances should anyone leave any of these appliances around infants, the elderly, or when you are not at home.

For more information on these dangerous dehumidifiers check the official recall at CPSC.

Consumer Product Safety Commission is a government agency that is responsible for the safety of products made overseas or here in America. You may want to check their site often for the most recent update on hazardous recalls. You may also use this site to report any defective products you may have come across. Don’t just throw them away and/or just return them. Be a good neighbor and report any hazards in order to help save the lives and properties of others.

Reposted from the Examiner.com

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An American executive has been held hostage for four days at his medical supply plant in Beijing

Associated PressBy LOUISE WATT | Associated Press

Associated Press/Andy Wong - American Chip Starnes, co-owner of Specialty Medical Supplies, waves from a window after he was held hostage by workers inside his plant at the Jinyurui Science and Technology Park in Qiao Zi township of Huairou District, on the outskirts of Beijing, China Monday, June 24, 2013. An American executive said Monday Starnes has been held hostage for four days at his medical supply plant in Beijing by dozens of workers demanding severance packages like those given to co-workers in a phased-out department. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Associated Press/Andy Wong – American Chip Starnes, co-owner of Specialty Medical Supplies, waves from a window after he was held hostage by workers inside his plant at the Jinyurui Science and Technology Park in Qiao Zi township of Huairou District, on the outskirts of Beijing, China Monday, June 24, 2013. An American executive said Monday Starnes has been held hostage for four days at his medical supply plant in Beijing by dozens of workers demanding severance packages like those given to co-workers in a phased-out department. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

BEIJING (AP) — An American executive said Monday he has been held hostage for four days at his medical supply plant in Beijing by scores of workers demanding severance packages like those given to 30 co-workers in a phased-out department.

Chip Starnes, 42, a co-owner of Coral Springs, Florida-basedSpecialty Medical Supplies, said local officials had visited the 10-year-old plant on the capital’s outskirts and coerced him into signing agreements Saturday to meet the workers’ demands even though he sought to make clear that the remaining 100 workers weren’t being laid off.

The workers were expecting wire transfers by Tuesday, he said, adding that about 80 of them had been blocking every exit around the clock and depriving him of sleep by shining bright lights and banging on windows of his office. He declined to clarify the amount, saying he wanted to keep it confidential.

“I feel like a trapped animal,” Starnes told The Associated Press on Monday from his first-floor office window, while holding onto the window’s bars. “I think it’s inhumane what is going on right now. I have been in this area for 10 years and created a lot of jobs and I would never have thought in my wildest imagination something like this would happen.”

Workers inside the compound, a pair of two-story buildings behind gates and hedges in the Huairou district of the northeastern Beijing suburbs, repeatedly declined requests for comment, saying they did not want to talk to foreign media.

A local police spokesman said police were at the scene to maintain order. Four uniformed police and about a dozen other men who declined to identify themselves were standing across the road from the plant.

“As far as I know, there was a labor dispute between the workers and the company management and the dispute is being solved,” said spokesman Zhao Lu of the Huairou Public Security Bureau. ” I am not sure about the details of the solution, but I can guarantee the personal safety of the manager.”

Representatives from the U.S. Embassy stood outside the gate but said they had no comment.

The protest reflects growing uneasiness among workers about China’s slowing economic growth and the sense that growing labor costs make country a less attractive place for some foreign-owned factories. The account about local officials coercing Starnes to meet workers’ demands — if true — reflects how officials typically consider quashing unrest to be a paramount priority.

It is not rare in China for managers to be held by workers demanding back pay or other benefits, often from their Chinese owners, though occasionally also involving foreign bosses. It is unusual for such an incident to take place in Beijing because most such ventures have moved elsewhere in China because of high costs in the capital.

Starnes said the company had gradually been winding down its plastics division, planning to move it to Mumbai, India. He arrived in Beijing last Tuesday to lay off the last 30 people. Some had been working there for up to nine years, so their compensation packages were “pretty nice,” he said.

Some of the workers in the other divisions got wind of this, and, coupled with rumors that the whole plant was moving to India, started demanding similar severance packages on Friday.

 

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Consumer Reports Made in America?

How to know which flag-waving products are true red, white, and blue

Puzzling labelsLaws allow for patriotic symbols, as long as makers identify where a product was made.

Given a choice between a product made in the U.S. and an identical one made abroad, 78 percent of Americans would rather buy the American product, according to a new nationally representative survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

More than 80 percent of those people cited retaining manufacturing jobs and keeping American manufacturing strong in the global economy as very important reasons for buying American. About 60 percent cited concern about the use of child workers or other cheap labor overseas, or stated that American-made goods were of higher quality.

And people would pay extra to buy American. More than 60 percent of all respondents indicated they’d buy American-made clothes and appliances even if those cost 10 percent more than imported versions; more than 25 percent said they’d pay at least an extra 20 percent. (Perhaps more surprising: According to a new survey of consumers in the U.S. and abroad by the Boston Consulting Group, more than 60 percent of Chinese respondents said they’d buy the American-made version over the Chinese even if it were to cost more.)

Clearly, most Americans want to know where products are made and want to buy those that will help create or keep jobs in the U.S.—an attempt applauded by economists like Jeff Faux, a distinguished fellow of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, in Washington, D.C. “Consumers need to understand that all jobs and wages are interconnected,” Faux told us. “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.”

But what does “made in the USA” even mean? And how can you identify what’s made where?

In this special report, we’ll decipher labeling laws and explain why a product that pictures an American flag might be made abroad, identify companies that still make products in the U.S., hear from economists about manufacturing trends, and provide our experts’ assessment of the quality of some American-made apparel.

A guessing game

Photo by: Tooga

Few products except cars, textiles, furs, and woolens are required by law to reveal their American heritage. But when any manufacturer chooses to boast of an American connection, it must comply with federal rules designed to keep consumers from being misled.

Our evidence shows that if not misled, consumers are at least confused. Readers flood Consumer Reports with letters and e-mail seeking explanations as to why, for example, frozen blueberries from Oregon are identified as a product of Chile; why a company named Florida’s Natural sells apple juice with concentrate from Brazil; why pants made in Vietnam are labeled “authentic, active, outdoor, American”; or why a T-shirt with the words “Made in the” above the U.S. flag comes from Mexico.

Though perplexing, such words and pictures don’t usually violate regulations that are issued by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency responsible for protecting consumers from false or deceptive product claims. The key factors in determining whether a “Made in the USA” claim is deceptive, says FTC senior attorney Laura Koss, are the claim’s context and whether it’s likely to mislead a reasonable consumer. Ultimately, the line between legal and illegal is determined by the overall impression planted in consumers’ minds.

But the line is blurry. Every case is different and subject to interpretation, Koss says. Most of the complaints the FTC receives are initiated by companies that are pointing a finger at competitors they claim are seeking an unfair advantage.

When a company definitely crosses the line, the FTC’s priority is stopping the behavior, not punishment. If a company refuses, it faces civil penalties—in theory. In practice, the FTC has brought only one civil penalty case since the late 1990s, slapping toolmaker Stanley with a $205,000 fine in 2006 to settle charges involving the pedigree of its Zero Degree ratchets. (Stanley claimed that the ratchets were made in America, but the FTC noted that much of their content was foreign.)

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“Made In USA” Labeling Influences Purchases

 

The vast majority of U.S. shoppers who notice a packaging claim that a product is “Made in the USA” are more likely to purchase that item, a new survey from firm Perception Research Services International (PRS) shows. According to PRS data, about 80% of U.S. consumers recognize “Made in the USA” labeling and 76% say that designation positively influences their eventual purchasing decisions.

“Whether it is for quality assurance, to boost the economy, or out of patriotism, buying American-made products is becoming quite fashionable among U.S. shoppers,” says Jonathan Asher, executive vice president of PRS. “Particularly for products that are ingested such as food, beverages and medicines – if you make it here, make that clear – that is, include a ‘Made in the USA’ mention on your package so that shoppers are aware of that fact.”

While U.S. shoppers value American-made products, PRS data shows they have generally negative feelings toward items that are labeled as “Made in China.” In fact, about 57% say they are less likely to purchase products that are manufactured in the Asian country, mostly because of quality and safety concerns. Even Chinese consumers don’t view “Made in China” products with great enthusiasm – just 58% are positively influenced by that labeling claim, PRS found.

Among age groups, shoppers that are over 35 years old are both the most likely to be positively influenced by “Made in the USA” claims and most likely to be negatively influenced by “Made in China” claims. Researchers aren’t quite sure why young shoppers are less influenced by a product’s country of origin, although they cite cost as a possible factor. Overall, considering all respondents, shoppers who view “Made in China” products positively do so because the items are less expensive, researchers say.

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