Country of origin labels should become compulsory for clothes sold in Europe so that consumers are not misled by labels suggesting they were made in an EU Member State, said the European Parliament on Tuesday when it approved an update of the
EU clothes labelling scheme.
The only way to ensure that consumers are not deceived by labels implying clothes were made in the EU when they were in fact made in a third country is to make "made in" labels mandatory, MEPs decided. "Made in" labels are currently voluntary in the EU but in practice their use depends on national laws. In comparison, country of origin labelling is strictly regulated in, for example, the USA, Canada and Japan.
New textiles to hit the market faster
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 (aiming at cutting 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.
EU legislation: new labelling requirements may be needed
To help consumers to make informed choices, MEPs 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.
Parliament's report on this subject was drafted by Toine Manders and adopted by 528 votes to 18, with 108 abstentions.