The European Commission is changing rules on labelling products within the EU, prompting fears that Germans' prized “Made in Germany” mark may be under threat, wrote Welt newspaper on Thursday.
“The 'Made in Germany' quality seal is in serious danger,” Eric Schweitzer, head of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) told the paper.
The new rules will in future mean all products must state the country of origin by law, in what the European Commission says is an attempt to strengthen consumer protection and transparency. It will also make dangerous products easier to trace.
But in future the product's land of origin will be determined by customs regulations, rather than the place where the last work was completed on it - as was previously the case, wrote the paper.
For example a bag made in Germany from Tunisian leather brought into the country won't be allowed to bear “Made in Germany” but rather “Made in Tunisia.”
In this way, German business representatives fear, the new rules could undermine the “Made in Germany” seal, on which German manufacturing has built its reputation for quality and reliability.
“The EU Commission's plans will in practice undermine the quality seal for German products,” said Schweitzer.
In future, he said, customers will no longer be guaranteed what they “previously associated with 'Made in Germany': quality, technique, design and workmanship of the highest standard.”
Some even see the changes as a veiled attempt by the EU to destroy the “Made in Germany” mark.
The EU is trying “to endanger our proven German quality seal through the back door under cover of consumer protection,” Anton Börner, head of the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services told the paper.