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Wal-Mart gets smacked for not living up to ‘Made in USA' commitment

Article-Wal-Mart gets smacked for not living up to ‘Made in USA' commitment

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM; Washington, DC) is calling Wal-Mart on the carpet for its failure to live up to its commitment from January 2013 to purchase an additional $250 billion in products supporting U.S. jobs over 10 years. In a newsletter from the AAM, President Scott Paul called out Walmart for its infographic, which it displayed at its recent annual Manufacturing Summit, that showed supposed progress. The "progress" displayed on the infographic involved the following:

  • Increase purchases of U.S.-manufactured goods;
  • source new-to-Walmart U.S.-manufactured goods;
  • support re-shoring to the U.S. of goods Walmart already buys.

The AAM then compared the infographic touting Wal-Mart's progress to what it is actually doing:

  • Increased imports to 775,400 shipping containers, a jump of 40,000 containers in the last year;
  • Wal-Mart boasts of relationships with nearly 20,000 Chinese suppliers;
  • an estimated 2.7 million U.S. jobs have been lost due to imports from China.
Made in China
Image courtesy Michael Mandiberg/flickr.

As an example, the AAM said that Wal-Mart announced a partnership with Element Electronics in 2013 to reshore TV assembly to Winnsboro, SC. "Element wrapped all of its products in Americana, but only a few were even assembled in the U.S. The Federal Trade Commission found Element Electronics ads' deceptive" and ordered rebranding.

So much for a commitment to made in USA.

If Wal-Mart can just talk the talk without any repercussions from consumers—many of whom say they really care about buying products made in the USA—then it will continue to do so. After all, Wal-Mart's pocketbook isn't taking a hit. The only thing that will make the giant retailer walk the walk when it comes to buying more goods from U.S. manufacturers is when consumers en masse start asking for them.

When I find something I want that is made in the USA, I tell the store clerk or manager, if I can find them, that I'm buying this specific brand because it is made in the USA. I like shopping where I can find products made in the USA, and I let the store's employees know that. If enough people did that, more stores would realize the importance of paying attention to where the products they sell are made.

It takes more than empty commitments and false promises to make a difference in U.S. manufacturing.

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