Do you care about where goods are made?

I did a search and after scrolling through several pages of results came up empty. So I am starting this page so that the Misen knives thread will not get further derailed. (I am guilty.)

There are plenty of thoughts on where goods are made with a pronounced emphasis on China. I would prefer that we avoid on this thread any overtly political thoughts and focus more on the reasons why buyers prefer goods made in some place and dislike goods made elsewhere. So, regardless of where you like goods from some places or dislike goods made in other places, what drives your preferences?

Negative reasons:

*Is it an unwillingness to support production in a country with whose positions or actions you disagree, assuming that ultimately tax revenue would support those positions or actions?
*Is it wariness of lax standards of safety affecting the products themselves, such as concern over metallurgy?
*Is it a belief or perception that such goods are in some way shoddy or inferior?
*Is it a belief that goods from a given country are overpriced?

Positive reasons:

*You prefer to support manufacturing in some specific country(ies)?
*Is it to reduce carbon footprint by reducing shipping?
*Is it to obtain the best cost?
*Is it because specific attributes you prize are only found in specific countries?

You may have others? Why do you care, or do you simply not care?

I like to support jobs in my own country, to reduce carbon footprint by buying more locally and by buying previously used goods, and because the things I most enjoy tend to come from a few specific countries.


I care.

My old Corningware made in Corning, NY is 1000 times better than the clunky crappy Corningware being made in China now. The new Corningware is heavier, marks more easily (a metal spoon leaves a grey mark that has to be scoured off every time a spoon touches the dish) and isn’t even glazed on the bottom of the casserole dish. It’s worth looking for hand me downs rather than buying the made in China products.

I already own a ton of kitchen stuff. The main thing I need are things that wear out like peelers and paring knives, and I will choose made in Germany over made in China every single time.

I love my All Clad skillets that I bought from my locally owned (Canadian) kitchen shop, before the owner had to go out of business in Dec 2019.


I care; sometimes for political and sometimes for quality reasons.

A quality example: Wilton Armetale. The family sold the company in 2010. Items used to be sandcast and made in Pennsylvania. The products under that brand name are now made mostly in China, and I have read, in Mexico. The two pieces I bought — and got rid of — were from China. Horrible quality. Very shiny and smooth. I have beautiful old pieces; there’s no comparison in quality or design or range. Trays and platters especially. Covered casseroles, too. I never owned the dinnerware.

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I care, but it isn’t like a black and white. In other words, it isn’t like if something is Made in X, then I definitely avoid, and if something is Made in Y, then I definitely buy. It is more about one of the parameters.

For your negative reasons:
The first three do come up. Not so much on the fourth one because I think the price itself takes care of it. I don’t need to look at Made in X, and then decide it is overpriced.
For your positive reasons:
Again, I agree with most of them, but except the cost. Again, the listed price takes care of that.

I would care, for political reasons. However, I don’t think there’s any obligation in my country for products to be labelled with country of manufacture, so my ability to make that decision is limited.

FWIW, fresh food is labelled and I exercise choice there not to purchase from one particular country. I have not knowingly bought products from there during my adult life.

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I’ll just point out that the inferior quality of the product that you rightly point out is not inherent in coming from China. Doubtless, whatever megacorp owns Corning now moved manufacturing to China for labor cost reasons, but the poor materials and cost-saving (not glazing the bottoms) are the result of CORPORATE decisions. They COULD insist on better materials. They don’t. They could insist on higher build quality. They don’t. This would likely be the case if the plant were New York, China, India, or Berlin.

Good. Cheap. Fast. Pick 2. As a society, we insist we value Good. We have demonstrated over and over we will happily settle for the other two.


Considering my computers, phones, tablets, and most other electronics are manufactured in China, it is hard for me to take issue with where other items are made. I need them, and that is the only choice.

My knives are German, and I have cookware from Brazil, China, France, Japan, Spain, and the USA… and GAWD only knows where a bunch of my other stuff comes from.

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Ya, I know. :slightly_smiling_face:

That said, in my experience, when a company, whether it’s Corningware, Hugo Boss, Armani, Elan Skis or ArcTeryx moves it’s production from North America or Europe to China or Pakistan, the new product is generally worse.

Maybe they’re watching the bottom line and cutting costs on labour and materials.

The designer clothing made in places like very poor countries such as Belarus or Romania is still almost always more durable than the designer clothing made in China in my experience. I look at labels before buying any clothing.

Often I can’t avoid buying clothing or handbags made in China, but when I can, I do. The leather products are especially poorly made from cheap materials, and they often cost the same price as better made products from Brazil,Mexico or Portugal, other countries with a fairly low wage for people working in shoe factories.

While this isn’t about cookware- I have been buying almost entirely Canadian-made t shirts, sweats and jeans over the past 2 years. It costs more, so I suppose it’s a splurge, and I’m lucky to be in a situation where I can pay $40 for a Canadian-made t shirt instead of $25 for a Chinese-made t-shirt, but I rather support local when I can.


I care less about where something is made, and more about how it is made and who is making it.

For example, I care more about the fact that Shun knives are (purportedly) made by hand by skilled specialists and requires at least 100 handcrafted steps to complete than the fact they are made in Seki, Japan. I would still hold Shun in the same regard if their knives were made in Beijing, China by the same craftsmen using the same techniques.

But that’s just me.

Obviously, you do you.


I do care, a lot.

I will not buy products made in countries that export terrorism, abuse their own population, aren’t democratic, or trade unfairly with USA.


I fear you may have just excluded 99% of the countries in the world.

If indeed the conditions you list are disjunctive (and not conjunctive).

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.

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Well, that fear may be a little overblown. Of the supposed total of 195 countries worldwide, and assuming we’re dealing in integers, that would mean there isn’t any other country.

Yes, I meant in the disjunctive.

I do the same only enlarging it to Canada and the US when I can. Fortunately, I have enough stuff in my kitchen to last me. I will need the occasional re-tinning.

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Corning sold their dishware line to World Kitchen because it was not profitable for them. Like many American manufacturers they preferred to go after Pentagon dollars rather than manufacture consumer goods. Little known fact: white Corning wear was derived from missile nose cones.


When making purchases, I try not to support companies whose owners and/or spokespeople have engaged in ugly behavior, but it can be virtually impossible.

Not buying goods from a country with a history of human rights abuses would mean that one could buy from no country that I know of. Also, I am not a fan of punishing citizens for their governments’ behavior especially in countries where citizens don’t choose the government.


As a lifelong veteran of the manufacturing sector and a few decades in international trade, I’ll bet my lunch money you own stuff made in places you don’t like but are tied up under layers of 100% legal country of origin and tariff regulations.


If it is not inescapable, it is fast becoming so. However, for those willing to traffick in older goods and goods noted for very localized manufacture, it seems possible. I have no idea if seeming is the same as being. Is a Pillivuyt item truly from France, or is an old extra forte pan with a Mauviel badge and tin lining or a Thiers-Issard Sabatier knife? If not, what other countries contribute to the final product?

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You bring back strange memories. One of my father’s assignments was the Bureau of Surface Missile Systems.