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“Made in” labelling/2:  Vice Minister Carlo Calenda wants to include furniture and jewelry

by Laura Cavestri

The Italian government plans to keep fighting for “Made In” labelling. As the Vice Minister for Economic Development Carlo Calenda (who also oversees international trade) has explained: it’s yes to a “Made In” limited to five sectors - ceramics, footwear and textile-clothing as proposed by the EU Commission, but also including woodworking-home furnishing and gold jewelry - with no distinctions between large and small companies and with a three or five-year test period before going to mandatory labeling.

The next European Council on Competition to establish final outlines for “Made In” will be May 28. But lobbying and technical meetings will start next week in order to arrive at a basic agreement by the end of the month.

“The Italian government shouldn’t give up its attempt to include home-design and jewelry,” said Antonio Tajani, vice president of the EU Parliament and former Commissioner for Industry.

The so-called “mini Made In,” encompassing only three sectors was a compromise solution laid out yesterday morning in Brussels by the EU Commission and that is set to go before the EU Council on May 27.

The proposal was an attempt to break the impasse between member nations that’s been blocking a broad consumer protection regulation for a year, of which “Made In” is only one part (Article 7).

The measure affects the heart of Italian manufacturing, both to enhance its own production versus that of lower-quality rivals, and to discourage counterfeiting. It was Northern European nations (which don’t produce much locally, but whose ports are the terminals of a lot of shipped Chinese goods) and Germany (whose manufacturing has largely gone offshore) that opposed it.

The impact study of the cost/benefit analysis of “Made In” on European industry is ready and gives a number of differing opinions on various manufacturing sectors.

At this point, the European Commission and Council made a decision to “unlock” the entire tranche of consumer-related legislation, including “Made In,” presented by the former Commissioner for Industry Antonio Tajani, and approved by a large majority in Parliament -- but stalled by the member nations of the EU council.