(WBNG Binghamton) New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Steve Israel on Wednesday announced new legislation that would require U.S. National Parks to sell merchandise “Made in the USA.”
According to a news release:
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.
“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,’” Senator Gillibrand said. “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.”
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 Senator Gillibrand and I are introducing legislation to bring ‘Made in the USA’ back to our nation’s proudest sites.”
The “American Parks, American Products Act” would 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 year, the National Park Service draws approximately 280 million 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 annual trade gap as of 2012 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 would help 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.”
Below is a list of the National Parks in New York State that would be affected by this legislation:
• Long Island: Fire Island, Sagamore Hill
• New York City: African Burial Ground National Monument, Castle Clinton National Monument, Ellis Island, Federal Hall, General Grant National Memorial, Governors Island Monument, Hamilton Grange National Memorial, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, Statue of Liberty National Monument
• Westchester: Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site
• Hudson Valley: Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
• Capital Region: Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, Saratoga National Historical Park
• Central New York: Fort Stanwix National Monument
• Finger Lakes: Women’s Rights National Historical Park
• Western New York: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site