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Made in China? Iceland's sweater-knitters are unhappy

In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, Thuridur Einarsdottir, founder of the Handknitting Association of Iceland, folds a 'lopi' sweater in Reykjavik. Trouble is rattling one of Iceland’s most distinctive industries: the production of the thick, hand-knitted “lopi” sweaters adored by tourists and worn with pride by locals. The individually produced, very warm sweaters have become a symbol of Iceland. But increasingly the local wool is being shipped to the cheaper labor market of China, where the sweaters are hand-knitted and then sent back for sale on the North Atlantic island. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Trouble is rattling one of Iceland’s most distinctive industries: the production of the thick, hand-knitted “lopi” sweaters adored by tourists and worn with pride by locals.

The individually produced, very warm sweaters have become a symbol of Iceland. But local knitters are upset at seeing their profit margins diminished by the appearance of sweaters actually made in China, albeit from authentic Icelandic wool.

Containers full of local yarn are shipped from the North Atlantic island nation, made into sweaters in China, then shipped back again, labeled as “hand-knitted from Icelandic wool”.

Knitting co-ops around Iceland, struggling to compete, last month urged the government to ban companies from branding woolen sweaters as “Icelandic” unless they are made locally.

The Associated Press