Today, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) visited Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to announce new legislation that would require U.S. National Parks to sell merchandise "Made in the USA." America's national parks and monuments are home to gift shops selling patriotic products. However, a large number of those products sales aren't helping to create jobs for American manufacturing workers, as they are produced in China or elsewhere around the globe.
Rep. Israel said, "When I walk into one of the gift shops at our monuments or national parks, it's upsetting to find that nearly every item -- from American flag mugs to Theodore Roosevelt teddy bears -- comes with a "Made in China' sticker. If we want American manufacturing to thrive again, then we need to show that we believe in it. That's why I am introducing legislation to bring "Made in the USA' back to our nation's proudest sites."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the legislation in the Senate. She said, "This is commonsense legislation to ensure products sold at America's National Parks are made by our manufacturers and small businesses, proudly stamped with the words "Made in America.' The celebration of our National Parks goes hand in hand with the pride of American-made products and our strong manufacturing tradition. The "American Parks, American Products Act' has the potential to support manufacturing jobs, and showcase American craftsmanship."
Nelson Taxel, CEO of Positive Promotions, a local Long Island company that produces promotional products, also joined the Congressman. He said, "From change, often opportunities emerge. Passage of "The American Parks, American Products' legislation will present a significant new market opportunity for the Company to further expand our complete line of Made in America educational, motivational and promotional products to nationals parks across America."
The "American Parks, American Products Act," will require that all items sold by the National Park Service in gift shops, visitors centers and at the National Archives are made in the USA. Each day, the National Park Service draws approximately 750,000 visitors at 401 National Parks, monuments and historic sites.
At present, a large number of items sold at national parks and monuments are produced abroad, many in China. The current U.S. trade deficit with China is at a record high with a $315 billion trade gap between what the U.S. imports versus exports from China. And, according to the National Parks Service, 25 percent of their $1 billion in gross receipts is from merchandise retail. That's roughly $250 million spent annually on gifts like calendars, t-shirts, and post cards.
Increasing the sale of American-made goods will further grow our local economies, with every dollar in final sales of American- manufactured products, $1.34 in economic activity is generated in other sectors of the economy-- the largest economic multiplier of any sector.
Additionally, in 2016, the National Park Service will celebrate its centennial and significant investments--both private and public--are expected over the next three years. The centennial will bring more foot traffic, and we need to make sure now more than ever, with our economy still recovering, that goods are "Made in the USA."