Country of origin labels should be compulsory

Article Date: 10 June 2010

"Made in" labels should become compulsory for clothes sold in Europe so that consumers are not misled by labels falsely suggesting they were made in an EU Member State, the European Parliament agreed this week.

MEPs approved an update of the EU clothes labelling scheme.

Country of origin labels are currently voluntary in the EU but in practice their use depends on national laws. In comparison, such labelling is strictly regulated in, for example, the USA, Canada and Japan.

Current EU legislation on textile labelling applies only to the harmonisation of textile fibre names — there are currently 48 fibres (18 natural and 30 synthetic) sold on the single market — and the labelling of the fibre composition of textile products.

Although Parliament was initially asked to vote only on a technical proposal by the Commission (which aims to cut the time taken to place new fibres on the market) MEPs turned this into a more political proposal, to make country of origin labelling mandatory in the new regulation.

They also asked the Commission to produce a report within two years and, if necessary, a proposal for legislation to impose the new labelling requirements EU-wide.

This report should examine the harmonised requirements on care labelling (currently voluntary), clothing and footwear sizes, on health and safety warnings (flammability, possible allergenic substances) and on social labelling.

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