Made in Italy: what does it really mean?

Made in Italy

is an indication of origin of any type of good or product, whose origin is certified as 100% Italian. The 100% Made in Italy certification aims at confirming the value of a product of true Italian origin. It is performed in line with all the parameters provided for by the Italian law in force (Law no. 166 article 16 of 20 November 2009) and is issued by the Institute for the Protection of Italian Producers.

In the past, and more precisely from the 1980s onwards, Made in Italy was simply an expression in English created by Italian producers as part of a process of revaluation and defense for the Italian characteristics of their products. The need of that time, like that of today, in reality, was to combat the falsification of Italian artisan and industrial production, especially in the four traditional sectors, also known as “the four A’s”: Clothing, Food, Furniture and Cars.

In fact, abroad, Italian products had gained such a reputation over time to be associated with quality of construction, elegance, attention to detail, imagination of shapes and durability.

The first normative bases for the recognition of the Made in Italy on a legal level was with the Madrid Agreement of 1891, transposed and ratified in Italy with law n. 676 of 1967, which sanctioned that the affixing of the Made in Italy, allowed for the identification of the exact place of manufacture of a certain product and is therefore traceable to the verification of the origin of the same.

Since 1999, the Made in Italy brand has been promoted by various bodies and associations, such as the Institute for the Protection of Italian Producers, the Made in Italy Association, the Made in Italy Committee, Food Italy Certification, as well as by all the trade associations of companies in the various sectors, by the Protection and Guarantee Consortiums, and above all, by the governmental bodies that have intervened, regulating its use on the basis of specific laws of the state that has called for the activities of verification and protection by the competent authorities.

Subsequently, it was the 2004 Budget Law (Law no. 350 of 2003) which clarified the situation, establishing that whoever writes “made in Italy” on any goods that have not actually been manufactured in Italy risks being imprisoned for up to one year, with an even greater penalty for food or beverages.

Importation and exportation for the purpose of marketing or the marketing of products bearing false or misleading indications of source constitutes a crime and is punishable under Article 517 of the Criminal Code.

And if on the one hand this law has rewritten the rules of labeling on the origin of goods, on the other it is equally true that in reality putting the Italian flag, the words “Italy” or “Made in Italy” on a product is possible to refer to the entrepreneurial part of the producer, while the production part (manufacturing, those who materially work the product) itself can be anywhere.

It is therefore sufficient that the product is «thought or designed» in Italy, when not totally managed by an Italian entrepreneur, to be able to easily boast of such a brand, even if the product is built in any country other than Italy.

Today the brand “Made in Italy” has become very important for Italian exports, and is so well known worldwide, as well as being considered an independent and autonomous commercial category.

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