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10 February 2014 | Will Green
A US senator has proposed legislation that would require all textile products purchased by federal agencies to be made in the United States.
Current law stipulates that such products should be 51 per cent American made, but senator Sherrod Brown wants to go further with the 'Wear American Act'.
The move follows Brown’s successful campaign to ensure the uniforms, manufactured by Ralph Lauren and worn by US athletes at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are entirely American made, after it emerged the team’s uniforms for the London 2012 Olympic Games were made in China.
Brown, a Democrat representing Ohio, said the federal government spent more than $1.5 billion (£920 million) a year on foreign-made clothing products, “with too many made using child labour in substandard to intolerable working conditions”.
He said: “It’s not in the interest of American jobs, American taxpayers, or global human rights when our government procures goods from factories with records of blatant international labour violations.
“But the limited enforcement actions our government has at its disposal are undermined by a simple lack of disclosure. American taxpayers deserve to know the addresses of factories receiving contracts before they are awarded.”
Brown has called on the General Services Administration, which carries out purchasing for the federal government, to monitor factory locations and conditions in its overseas supply chain and disclose the information to Congress.