Friday, September 11, 2015

Sen. Murphy: Put American made products in National Park Service retail stores

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., after " hearing from a constituent that foreign-made products are available for purchase in National Park Service (NPS) concession retail stores, called on the NPS to increase the percentage of American-made merchandise sold in national park retail shops," according to a release 
The senator released his letter (pasted unedited below) to Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, in which, the release said, he " highlighted the important role that the federal government and its contractors – including NPS retail stores – can play in helping U.S. manufacturers expand their businesses, create new jobs, and bolster the economy by purchasing goods made by American workers."
"As part of an ongoing effort to protect and grow American manufacturing," Murphy asked that at least 50 percent "of goods sold in NPS stores come from American manufacturers," and "encouraged the NPS to codify stricter requirements to ensure that national park retail stores do not import or sell products made by foreign companies that are otherwise available through American manufacturers," the release said.

According to the release, Murphy has introduced several amendments and pieces of legislation – including the 21st Century Buy American Act and the American Jobs Matter Act – that "aim to strengthen existing standards and prioritize the purchase of American-made goods"

The letter:
The Honorable Jonathan Jarvis 
National Park Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Dear Director Jarvis:
I write to thank you for your efforts to include American-made products in National Park Service (NPS) concession retail shops, and to encourage you to continue to expand the availability of these products in our national parks. While the NPS has made strides in ensuring that NPS retailers sell products made in the United States, a Connecticut constituent recently brought to my attention multiple instances of foreign-made products in NPS stores. I believe that we can do more to provide and promote quality, price-competitive, domestically-made products in our national parks, and ask that you take further steps to that end.
There were more than 270 million visits to our national parks in 2013, generating billions of dollars in revenue and contributing significantly to local economies. Working to make sure that more domestically-made products are sold would magnify that effect. As you know, federal investment in manufacturing helps create new American jobs, bolsters our economy, and enhances opportunities for America’s middle class. One of the easiest ways to create a ripple effect of prosperity through manufacturing communities is to ensure that the goods purchased through the federal government and its contractors, such as those sold in NPS retail shops, are made by American workers at U.S. companies.
Studies show many consumers are even willing to pay more for the quality associated with domestically manufactured goods, and selling American-made products is crucial to helping our manufacturers grow. I was pleased that a 2008 review by the National Park Hospitality Association indicated that 39 percent of merchandise in NPS retail stores was made in the United States.  An additional 31 percent was finished in the U.S., and the remaining 30 percent was imported from foreign manufacturers. While this is important progress, I ask you take immediate steps to increase the percentage of American-made merchandise in NPS retail stores to at least 50%.  As you know, the Buy American Act requires that certain manufactured goods be comprised of at least 50% American content. This 50% threshold I believe is one that NPS should be able to achieve.  
I understand NPS has already made reforms to encourage shop owners to buy American-made products, such as providing financial incentives to complying retailers and discussing ‘Made in USA’ initiatives during the store review process. However, I believe more can be done to find available, competitively-priced domestic products for NPS concessional retail stores, and encourage you to codify stricter requirements to ensure no products that are otherwise available through domestic manufacturers are imported from foreign companies.
I appreciate your previous efforts to promote American-made products.  In addition to further steps to increase the amount of American-made goods in NPS stores, please let me know what Congress can do to help ensure NPS retail stores buy American-made goods as we work together to help grow the American economy. The National Parks System is a priceless heritage belonging to every American, one that I believe can contribute to the resurgence of American manufacturing even as it helps conserve and promote our natural resources.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response.
Christopher S. Murphy
United States Senator


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