“Trump’s products have been made in 12 other countries.”
— man in Clinton campaign ad, “Shirts”
The Hillary Clinton campaign has at least two ads attacking Donald Trump for outsourcing the production of his merchandise. Given Trump’s rhetoric against companies shipping jobs out of the United States — he vowed not to eat Oreo cookies anymore after Nabisco moved some U.S. factory jobs to Mexico — this is a frequent attack on his record as a businessman.
Trump has a long history of outsourcing a variety of his products and has acknowledged doing so. When asked during a Republican primary debate in Miami why voters should trust that Trump “will run the country differently from how you run your businesses,” he answered: “Because nobody knows the system better than me. … I’m a businessman. These are laws. These are regulations. These are rules. We’re allowed to do it. … I’m the one that knows how to change it.”
Trump also encouraged outsourcing to students of Trump University, the now-defunct program that is under litigation over allegations of fraud. In a 2005 post titled “Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run,” Trump wrote that sending work outside your company “is not always a terrible thing.”
“I know that doesn’t make it any easier for people whose jobs have been outsourced overseas, but if a company’s only means of survival is by farming jobs outside its walls, then sometimes it’s a necessary step. The other option might be to close its doors for good,” Trump wrote in the post.
We searched for sources of Trump products through publicly available data, including online retail stores and public data of shipments at U.S. ports from 2007 through Aug. 17, 2016, gathered by the private company ImportGenius.com. The data shows the last port of shipment before entering the United States (meaning Mexico is not included) and specifies the manufactured location for certain items. (Thanks to Kim Soffen, graphics reporter at The Washington Post, who worked with us to analyze the imports database. Check out her analysis of a decade of Trump’s imports.)
We took inventory below. We welcome reader suggestions for any new products and sources they find, and then we will update the list.
The Donald J. Trump Collection includes ties, suits, dress shirts, eyeglasses and other accessories.
Trump shirts were made in China, Bangladesh, Honduras and Vietnam. PolitiFact Virginia found some Trump sport coats made in India. The Clinton campaign pointed to import data from 2007 that showed a Trump men’s shirt shipment marked as made in South Korea.
Some of the Trump suits on Amazon.com show they were imported, Made in USA or both. BuzzFeed ordered a suit that was listed as both “imported” and “Made in USA” — and ended up with a label showing the suits were made in Indonesia.
Users commented on Amazon.com that the suit that BuzzFeed purchased previously was listed as being imported from Mexico or China. This photo shows a Trump suit that carries a “Made in Mexico” label.
Manufacturing information online is not always reliable — for example, a photo of one shirt shows a “Made in Bangladesh” label, but the item description says it was made in China. This may be a reflection of the different countries that products sometimes pass through before they are ultimately shipped into the United States.
Trump eyeglasses are made in China. Cufflinks and other accessories do not list the source of manufacturing on Amazon.com.
“Success by Trump,” a cologne in the Trump Fragrance line, was manufactured in the United States, according to PolitiFact Virginia. The Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” hats are made at a Southern California factory and are labeled “Proudly Made in USA.”
Trump home items
Trump Home has a range of items, including chandeliers, mirrors, bedding, table lamps, cabinets, sofas, barstools, cocktail tables and more.
Trump expanded the Trump Home brand internationally, including in Turkey. A Trump Organization news release shows it partnered with a global luxury furniture brand, Dorya International, to expand the Trump Home brand to a production facility in Turkey. According to Furniture Today, components of the Trump by Dorya furniture were made in Germany, particularly the brass and stainless pieces.
Several Trump Home items are listed as made in China or imported from China — mirrors, ceramic vases, wall decorations, kitchen items and lighting fixtures. The Clinton campaign has pointed to a trademark registration for the Trump Home brand that shows picture frames and other home products were made in India.
Trump hotel items
Many hotel amenities at Trump’s hotels were manufactured overseas and imported. Trump Hotel pens were made in China or Taiwan, and imported into the United States via South Korea. Shampoo, body wash, moisturizers, shower caps, laundry bags, show bags, pet collars, pet leashes and bath towels at Trump hotels are all listed as made in China.
Trump Vodka was manufactured at a distillery in the Netherlands, supposedly distilled five times from “European wheat,” but the distribution company stopped carrying it in 2010. An Israeli company continued to carry Trump Vodka, although the version sold in Israel is different from the original Trump Vodka. The Trump Vodka produced and sold in Israel is made from ingredients that make it kosher for Passover, which made it a popular beverage around the holidays. But the Jerusalem Post reported that it turned out that not all ingredients actually were kosher for Passover.
Note: There’s a Trump Winery located in Charlottesville, Va., but it is reported to be owned by his son, Eric. The Trump Winery website says its name is a registered trademark of Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing, LLC. The winery imports glassware.
The Bottom Line
The Clinton ad claims that “Trump’s products have been made in 12 other countries.” This is correct. We know of at least 12 countries where Trump products were manufactured (China, the Netherlands, Mexico, India, Turkey, Slovenia, Honduras, Germany, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea). Further, Trump products transited other countries through the packaging and shipping process — meaning workers in more than 12 countries contributed to getting many of Trump’s products made, packaged and delivered to the United States.
As our inventory shows, manufacturing is a global process. Components of a product of an American company are made in different parts of the world, depending on who offers the most competitive prices, and ultimately imported into the country to be sold to American consumers. It’s not as simple as deciding not to eat an Oreo because Nabisco found a cheaper place to employ some of its workers.
Trump’s practice as a businessman is not consistent with his current rhetoric against trade as a presidential nominee — this vulnerability is backed with more than enough factual evidence. If Trump brand customers took the same stance against his products as he did against Nabisco, it is clear they would be left with few Trump items to buy. However, we do know of at least four Trump products made in the United States: “Make America Great Again” hats, bedding, water and cologne.
Send us facts to check by filling out this form
Sign up for The Fact Checker weekly newsletter