that swiss army knife could be made in china

Posted on August 3, 2007


Would the venerable Swiss army knife have the same kind of allure it normally invokes if it was made in China?

The quintessential Swiss product, the highly-revered, multi-use, handy-multi-tool-in one Swiss army knives, could risk being stamped with a made-in-China sticker that has similarly befallen millions of other products.

And it’s no thanks to this little inconvenience call globalization.

Being a member of the World Trade Organization, the Swiss Army, which contracts the manufacture of the knives, may be subject to WTO rules that calls for the tender of the order to be open to manufacturers worldwide, the Guardian reports.

You can imagine the fits and frothing at the mouth that piece of news has brought on in many usually-phlegmatic Swiss.

Beyond the nationalistic issues, the question is — will the Chinese-produced Swiss knives be up to scratch?

This is a serious issue that could affect the standing the Swiss knives had enjoyed internationally for centuries. The handy knives aren’t just used by armies. It is an essential tool from campers, fishing enthusiasts and outdoor types, to surgeons, doctors and astronauts. It has even been called “life-saving”.

Everyone has come to associate the knives with certain qualities — convenience, versatility, efficacy and above all, reliability.

With the deluge of reports hitting consumers virtually weekly about the shoddy standards of made-in-China goods, there is no doubt that the Swiss are distressed that their beloved invention could face the embarrassing specter of recall, lawsuits and nightmarish PR of being sub-par, should it be outsourced to Chinese manufacturers.

Victorinox, the hitherto default producer of the knives, had said it is confident of beating out other bidders. It had better make sure it does so if it doesn’t want the good old Swiss knife’s reputation to be subject to the unkindest cut — of being just another China-produced good that loses its sharp edge.