Opinion

“America First” Is Impossible Without Proper Certification

President Trump recently held another Strategy and Policy Forum with some of America’s top business leaders. Staying true to his “America First” promise on the campaign trail, the president pledged to “[create] great high paying jobs for American workers” and renegotiate trade agreements to bolster the U.S. economy.

Agree with President Trump’s trade agenda or not, it is certainly grounded in popular support. According to a recent Harvard-Harris poll, 65 percent of Americans approve of President Trump’s “America First” campaign promise. Even more—74 percent—agree that the federal government should adopt a “Buy American, Hire American” policy.

Furthermore, nearly 80 percent of American consumers say that they would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one. The overwhelming majority of Americans claim that they would even pay 10 percent more for an American-made product to support the U.S. economy and American workers. Why? Because U.S. consumers believe that American-made products “have higher quality than imports.” It dispels the notion that Americans exclusively prefer the cheaper, foreign-made products inundating us as a result of globalization and free trade.

But how do we know which businesses put America first? While traditional “Made in the U.S.A” labels reward manufacturers that make products domestically, they do not incentivize businesses—manufacturers and others—to hire Americans, source their materials and services from other U.S. businesses, locate themselves in America, and pay taxes to federal, state, and local governments. In other words, “Made in the U.SA.” labels do not require a business to demonstrate its commitment to growing the local, regional, and national economies.

Say that you’re buying a new toy for your child. Even if the product is “made in the U.S.A,” the toy manufacturer could still source its parts from a company in China and have dozens of plants in Mexico, paying taxes to a foreign country.

Similarly, “Made in the U.S.A” labels only apply to manufacturers, leaving out other businesses and industries. For example, a seafood restaurant in Maryland may hire American servers, source its soft-shell crabs from the Chesapeake Bay, and pay taxes exclusively to the U.S. government, yet receive no acknowledgement of its “America First” practices. The same goes for a Texas accounting firm with no outsourced services or a community bank in Ohio, where all of the tellers are American citizens. In today’s unique political climate, patriotic businesses like these go unmentioned.

That’s why I launched the “America First” certification program, which extends beyond the manufacturing sector and rewards businesses on five key metrics—from hiring practices to sourcing and tax payments. “America First” certification allows businesses large and small to demonstrate their commitment to American workers and products, while customers can easily identify who buys and hires American. It allows businesses to gain a competitive advantage and public visibility, while satisfying consumers’ pro-America preferences. The program further supports American interests by donating 10 percent of all proceeds to veterans’ charities like the Wounded Warrior Project.

As labor costs rise overseas and the negative publicly of outsourcing intensifies, American businesses have a rare opportunity to prove their patriotism. The rewards of doing so—from positive press to product differentiation—are obvious, and only more so with President Trump at the helm.

“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First,” the president proclaimed in his inaugural address. Let’s certify it.

Charlie Bross is the Founder of AmericaFirstCertification.com. He has more than two decades of experience in the certification industry.