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“American components. Russian components. All made in Taiwan!
Lev Andropov, Armageddon

Overseas products and works have a (sometimes unfair) reputation of being utter crap, as they tend to have looser (or nonexistent) quality assurance standards, are made by underpaid, overworked laborers, and are composed of even cheaper raw materials. Depending on the time period, the country in question will shift, but it's generally a Second/Third world country. People from these countries often joke about their products as a form of Self-Deprecation.

On the other hand, certain countries boast high quality products stemming from their superior work ethic and/or starting materials (only the best, hand-picked Whatevers for Product Awesome).

A Sub-Trope of Public Medium Ignorance. The Super-Trope to Operator from India and It's Cuban.

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Examples of "Terrible Art and Products are Made in Country X"

  • Ads for Discover credit cards chronicle the dealings of fictional competitor USA Prime Credit, whose customer support office is located in Ruritania, staffed by one guy who claims to be "Peggy" and considers a room full of phones on hold to be "beautiful".

  • On Monty Python's Contractual Obligation album, Eric Idle does a bit about Australian table wines, trying to convince the listener of their quality, while the joke is that he actually makes them sound even more horrible, such as saying that one "ranks with any of the best sugary wines", another is "for those keen on regurgitation", and another "has a kick on it like a mule! Eight bottles of this and you're really finished! At the opening of the Sidney Bridge Club, they were fishing them out of the sewers every half an hour!"

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix mocks British food in "Asterix in Britain" and in Asterix the Legionary. In the latter album, the legionaries are served their first military meal in the barracks, and it's so bad that they refuse to to eat it, voicing their disgust in many creative ways. The Belgian says: "That is food for the Goths", the Goth says: "In my country we've had people drawn and quartered for less!" Cut to the British recruit who not only ate all of his serving, but is licking the last bits from his fingers saying "Mmmh, delicious, isn't it?"

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert has the (fictional) country of Elbonia, home of crappy products and even crappier customer support. Word of God claims it's meant to represent American perceptions of "any country without cable television".
    • This is saying something, considering how bad the products and services from Dilbert's own company are and how they are implied to get away with it because the competitors are just as bad. So for there to be a country that makes even worse products...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When the page-header Armageddon was released in theaters in Taiwan, this line was in it. Subsequent satellite-TV showings cut this scene in order to not offend China, which uses the same satellite broadcast.
  • Back to the Future Part III hangs a lampshade on how nations can change their reputations in a relatively short time. In the 1950's Japan had a reputation for putting out cheap, low-quality goods. Their reputation began to change in the 60's, and by the 1980's, the country was considered a powerhouse of top quality craftsmanship and technology, particularly with regards to electronics.
    1955 Doc: No wonder this circuit failed. It says "Made in Japan."
    Marty: What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.
    1955 Doc: Unbelievable.
  • Son of the Mask: Loki constantly searches both in the Mask Museum in Edge City and in every store and house in Fringe City for the green god-mask. Every mask he finds is just a replica with the engraved words "Made in Pakistan."
  • Godzilla: Jean Reno's character is openly disgusted by American coffee. One of his colleagues hands him a mug of what he's told is French Roast, only for him to spit it out in disgust.
    Philippe Roaché: I thought you said this was French Roast!
    Colleague: American French Roast.
  • Pain and Gain: The China-made electric chainsaw the Sun Gym Gang use to try to dismember the bodies of two of their victims had a number of problems: first it wouldn't start, then it cut out before they could begin, then it got caught in one of the victim's hair rather easily and the blade wound up irreparably jammed.
    Lugo: Figures! "Made in China"! IT'S A PIECE OF CHINA FUCKING CRAP! I fucking told you to get a gas-powered one, not some fucking piece of electric China crap shit!
  • You Only Live Twice: After Bond breaks into the Osato offices, cracks a safe and kills the Mook who attacks him, he decides he needs to take a drink from Osato's bar. He takes a sip and notes with horror that he's drinking Siamese vodka.
  • The Wagon Queen Family Truckster, the butt-ugly, pea-green Alleged Station Wagon featured in National Lampoon's Vacation, was intended as a parody of crappy American cars from the '70s. The sequel/reboot in 2015 continued the tradition with the Tartan Prancer, an Albanian minivan (American cars having come out of their Dork Age since 1983) that's jam-packed with weird features, none of which are clearly labeled and all of which cause no shortage of grief for the Griswolds. One of them blows the car up.
  • A rather weird case from the infamous Live-Action Adaptation of The Cat in the Hat — the crate the Cat uses (which is apparently an interdimensional gateway to his world from ours) is marked "Made in the Philippines." When Conrad questions this, the Cat responds "Well yeah, but not this Philippines." (In a Freeze-Frame Bonus, the Cat's "Phunometer" also has this written on it.)


  • Adrian Mole says that his birthday presents were the usual Japanese rubbish, although he did get a model aeroplane that was made in West Germany. Note also this scene from the great Teletubby toy shortage:
    I asked where the Teletubbies were to be found. The assistant said "in China, sir, where they make 'em." He said they'd had a few Laa-Laas on Monday, but they'd gone within minutes. I asked why we couldn't manufacture Teletubbies in this country. He said, "They'll work all week for a bowl of rice in China; we can't compete."
  • We The Living by Ayn Rand:
    A habit which had sprung from nowhere and spread over the country, which even Party members could not check or resist for which no one was responsible nor could be punished, referred to all products of local inefficiency as "Soviet"; there were "Soviet matches" that did not light, "Soviet kerchiefs" that tore the first time worn, "Soviet shoes" with cardboard soles. Young women like Nina and Tina were called "Soviet girls."
  • In Good Omens, Newt has a Japanese car that was made in the gap between Japanese auto-makers starting to innovate and not just copy and Japanese auto-makers being good at innovating. As a result, it breaks down frequently and has terrible voice messages, like repeating "Prease to frasten sleat-bert!" even when the seatbelt is fastened. He calls it Dick Turpin because it holds up traffic.
    • It also makes the same point as Eric, below, about British fast food — namely that while the American version's sole redeeming qualities are its speed and the fact that the meal is hot and loaded with enough salt and sugar to make you not care, the British version manages to screw even that part up. (France, we are told, simply had fast food executives shot on sight.)
    • In fact, Eric has a lengthy digression about the British habit of attempting to mimic an American product exactly, only without the one thing that made the American version worthwhile, such as slow fast food, and hotels that sacrifice atmosphere for efficiency, without the efficiency.
    • A scene from The Fifth Elephant which takes German reactions to British sausages Up to Eleven during Commander Vimes' visit to Überwald:
      Skimmer: To a connoisseur here, your grace, an Ankh-Morpork sausage would not be considered a sausage, mmph, mmhm.
      Vimes: Oh really? So what would he call it?
      Skimmer: A loaf, your grace. Or possibly a log. Here, a butcher can be hanged if his sausages are not all meat, and at that it must be from a named animal, and I perhaps should add that by named I do not mean that it should have been called "Spot" or "Ginger", mmm mmhm. I'm sure that if your grace would prefer the more genuine Ankh-Morpork taste, Igor could make up some side dishes of stale bread and sawdust.
  • In The Long Dark Teatime Of The Soul, Dirk's amazingly craptastic electronic I-Ching calculator is described as probably having been made in whatever Asian country was doing to South Korea what South Korea was doing to Japan.
  • In Doug Naylor's solo Red Dwarf novel, Last Human, Lister is sentenced to fifteen years in Cyberia, an inversion of Better Than Life from the previous books and the TV series. Among the products in his apartment's kitchen are American coffee and Portuguese tea.note 
  • How to Survive a Horror Movie has a variation: objects that come from certain countries inevitably turn out to be possessed, cursed, or otherwise evil. Examples of places whose exports you should watch out for include Egypt, sub-Saharan Africa, the southwestern US, central Mexico, the Caribbean, and outer space. American cars also merit a mention, since it's always Detroit steel that turns out to be evil.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The IT Crowd, Moss' fire extinguisher catches on fire as he attempts to use it. He wonders why and then sees the 'made in Britain' label — of course.
  • Outsourced — It's about a customer service department based in India, and much of the humor lies in the culture shock that its American manager faces on a daily basis.
  • In a Mr. Cholmondley-Warner sketch on Harry Enfield and Chums, he warns about defective goods, saying that they can usually be identified by the "Made In Belgium" written on the bottom.
  • In the Frasier episode "Star Mitzvah", Martin brings out his Schmerblatt 7-XK, which Niles describes as "the blindingest, noisiest camera ever produced in the former Soviet Union".
  • In Friends, Ross celebrates getting tenure with a bottle of Israel's finest champagne.
  • In the Only Fools and Horses episode "Danger UXD," Uncle Albert tells Rodney that Del has just bought a new video recorder. Rodney replies that he was just reading in the paper that Taiwan is the only country with no rubbish dumps; they send it all to Del. Del quickly replies that the video recorder was actually made in Formosa. Uncle Albert tries to explain that Taiwan and Formosa are the same island, but Rodney advises him not to bother.
  • Red Dwarf makes several references like this; Starbug's recycled water supply (made from urine) is compared to Dutch lager and Kryten notes that one of the things that nobody wanted was American chocolate. The books indulge in this as well, as some of the foods in Lister's Cyberia simulation in Last Human include American coffee and Portuguese tea.note 
  • A Truth in Television example occurred during the 2018 Discovery Channel season of BattleBots when the Gigabyte team went into their first battle using a component they'd had made for them in China (presumably while they'd been there for King of Bots earlier in the year). They'd ordered the component milled from solid 6061-T6 to withstand and contain the forces of Gigabyte's massively powerful spinning shell weapon, but the manufacturers had lied to them and provided with a piece made from cast aluminum, which is immeasurably weaker. Unsurprisingly, the piece snapped under the stress and caused Gigabyte's shell to fly off in the middle of a fight against Tombstone, the then reigning champion, and it was only thanks to the mercy of Tombstone's driver that the helpless Gigabyte wasn't annihilated on the spot. To add insult to injury, the company responsible flatly refused to even acknowledge there was any fault in their product at all. You can read about the whole thing here.
    • Amazingly, pretty much the same thing happened again during the same series, this time in the grand finale bout, when Minotaur's side armor was ripped apart by Bite Force's weapon. The panel had been made from the same cheap kludge material as Gigabyte's securing bolt, and was about as durable, costing them the championship.
    • Gigabyte's woes didn't end there. During the Desperado Tournament, its self righting rod snapped after it was upended by Lucky. As revealed by the team that operated Bloodsport the following year, that team obtained one of Gigabyte's remaining rods, which then proceeded to snap off in the very same fashion. Bloodsport's team would also reveal that the rod was also made from China, making it more likely that all of Gigabyte's self righting rods were likely made by the same manufacturer which made the defective securing bolt.
    • Hilariously (and possibly ironically), approximately the same thing note  that happened to Gigabyte also happened to a Chinese spinner called Pot of Love in season 2 of King of Bots- their own securing bolt snapped off their machine during their battle against Earth Shovel, causing the shell to slip off. Unlike in the Gigabyte vs Tombstone battle, however, Earth Shovel was a flipper rather than another spinner, so Pot of Love bravely continued fighting with just the naked drive section, ramming hilariously against Earth Shovel in a futile but endearing show of defiance until the match went to time and Earth Shovel won on points.

    Video Games 
  • An early case in L.A. Noire has somebody insulting a jewelry shop owner by claiming that all of his wares are made in Japan, and thus cheap, nickel-plated crap.
  • In Shadow Warrior attempting to use a non-functioning vehicle will result in Lo Wang remarking, "Huh? Must be American made!"
  • The Royal Mech, an enemy in Guardian Heroes with a limited movelist, will sometimes say this as its victory quote in the HD version: "Why does it say 'Made in Taiwan' on my butt? *sigh*"
  • During a codec conversation with Colonel Campbell and Rose in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Campbell talks about a conference he went to where different countries compared their standard issue military rations. He notes that the American ones were the worst of the lot.
  • Mocked in a campaign mission in Tropico 4. El Presidente is informed that the trusty "Made in Tropico" brand is considered less reliable than China (see below) and you're offered the opportunity to rebrand your exports as Chinese to raise their prices. (At the cost of harming relations, naturally.)
  • The Japanese title for the WarioWare series is Made in Wario, a meta play on the phrase. It's under this heading because the games Wario makes are all less than four seconds long.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • In Chrontendo episode 48, Dr. Sparkle notes that the worst games of the episode were Hollywood Squares, Sesame Street ABC and Bad Street Brawler and that it was a good pitcher for the horrible video games being produced in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball
    • Not about "quality" in the usual sense, but "The Wicked" has a bit where Gumball reads a tag on Margaret Robinson (a very evil muppet woman) which says she is "made in the fiery pits of the underworld".
    • "The Console" is about Gumball receiving a "Game Child", a knockoff so shoddy the country it was made in is also a knockoff ("Chainor"). Turns out, like everything else from the Awesome Store, it's an Artifact of Doom that turns Elmore into a video game.
  • In one Family Guy episode where Brian befriends Rush Limbaugh and moves in with him, Brian buys Rush a whole new kitchen comprising of all American made appliances. Each one collapses, fails or explodes the moment Brian mentions them.
  • Bender from Futurama proudly shows the Hecho en Mexico label on his compartment door... which then falls off.
    IKEA Robot: Enjoy your affordable Swedish crap.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Marge is in a store looking at a set of kitchen knives. When she notices that the label says "Made in USA", she decides against buying it.
    • A recent Simpsons Couch Gag, created by the famed graffiti artist Banksy, featured workers in a Chinese sweatshop toiling away to make merchandise and DVD sets. Can be seen here.CRASH!
    • They seem to like this gag. In another episode, when Homer is shopping for a new car and looking at a particularly crappy one, he asks the salesman what country it was made in, only to be told that said country no longer exists. This was more of a specific jab at the Yugo than at foreign products in general, though.
    • In another episode, Flanders is driving Homer to the big game only for Homer to make him duck so that Lenny and Carl don't see him. Once they see Homer in the passenger seat of a driverless car in motion...
      Lenny: Hey look! Homer's got one of those robot cars!
      Carl: One of those AMERICAN robot cars!
    • From Burns Verkaufen Der Kraftwerk, when Homer offers one of the German investors who bought the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant a free beer at Moe's:
      Fritz: Oh, thank you. My English is not perfect, but I have to tell you, your beer is like swill to us. Do I have that right? I am saying that only a swine would drink this beer.
    • One Halloween special showed a gravestone marked "American workmanship". The gravestone promptly crumbles.
    • In "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", Lenny and Carl—recently out of a job because Mr. Burns moved the nuclear plant to India—comment to Moe that the neon Duff Beer sign he's just plugged in is powered by non-American workers. Annoyed, Moe points out that the beer they're drinking is German and the TV they're watching is Japanese, so they ask if anything in the bar was made in America. Moe points his shotgun at them and says, "Just this." It immediately fires backwards into his own face.
  • Downplayed in the Rugrats episode 'Mirrorland', Didi purchased several antique knick-knacks from a newly-opened store and brought them home, including a Louis XIX mirror that she asserted was French in origin. Grandpa Lou isn't impressed.
    Didi: You know that's a genuine Louis XIX looking glass? It's French! Could you help me carry the rest of this stuff in?
    Lou: You mean there's more?
    [Lou looks at a note on the side of the mirror]
    Lou: 'Made in Taiwan'. Hmm. I didn't know Taiwan was in France.

    Real Life 
Food and Drink
  • US' beer is also seen as crap around the world, by people who know their beer, thanks in no small part to the Prohibition Era. For a long time, it was also seen as crap in the US, but the increasing prominence of craft brews in the American market is changing some minds.
    • A lot of craft brewers, when they're feeling particularly honest, admit they wish they had the reliability and quality control that, say, Anheuser-Busch does. Budweiser may not be a great beer, but it's a famously consistent beer.
    • So is coffee for European tourists in the US.
    • In fact, most of the US' food, particularly chocolate has this reputation. British people were horrified when Hershey effectively took over Cadburys, viewed as the apex of British milk chocolate. Damage has so far been limited, although there was widespread revulsion to one British chocolate icon, the Creme Egg, being "revised" to an American production standard.
    • Hershey have production rights to the Cadbury name in the USA. British people going to America and seeing the familiar purple Cadburys wrapper are in for a nasty taste shock as the product inside is not they expected. Rather than upgrade the product to British production standards, Hersheys sought to make it illegal for the genuine British article to be imported to the USA.
    • Russian beer is seen as A Tankard of Moose Urine in Russia itself. Objectively speaking, though, it's just mediocre, roughly on the same So Okay, It's Average level as mass-produced American beer, and isn't actually that difficult to find on an import market.
  • Many tourists are surprised that domestic products that are seen as horrific in their own country are well-known in other areas, i.e. many Americans find it hilarious that Budweiser is advertised as "the" American beer, and Australians feel the same about Foster's.
    • And, quite ironically, Budweiser originates from Budweis (or České Budějovice), in the Czech Republic. And Czech beer is generally regarded as very decent (as long as it is fresh from the tap).
      • Of course, as Europeans will tell you, Czech Budweiser beer is a rather different product than its American namesake.
      • As a matter of fact, the American Budweiser and the city of Budweis' actual breweries (Budvar in particular) claim a trademark on the name, and are therefore unavailable for sale in their respective counterpart's country (among many others worldwide) under that name.
  • Taking pride in their Reinheitsgebot, which states that beer must be made only from hops, malt, yeast and water, many Germans have a tendency to look down with deep disgust on foreign-made beers that do not conform to the same purity standards.
  • Any Dutchman will tell you that Gouda that isn't made in the Netherlands is crap and tastes like plastic.
  • British food used to have this reputation, before London became gourmet mecca. Unless you're from France or Germany.
    • A Cyclic Trope, caused by a variety of factors, but British desserts were generally highly regarded. The French named custard Créme anglaise for a reason.
  • Plenty of Belgians consider Dutch food and drink to be the epitome of awfulness. Often they say that Dutch food is low-budget food with a sauce over it to make it look good despite tasting horrible (the fact that Heinz was Dutch may have something to do with that) and Heineken gets lots of hate there. Considering that over time French food started getting imported in Belgium with the obvious reaction following and that Belgium has a very active beer industry it was predictable but still ironic, since The Netherlands has far more restaurants with 3 stars on the Michelin guide than Belgium. The fact that Dutch rarely talk about their cooking chefs while Belgians give them a lot of media attention may however have something to do with that.

Video Games

  • Western Shoot 'em Up games of the 1990s and 2000s are far more likely to be panned than Japanese Shoot 'em Up due to the general lack of production value and little artistic value, to the point that many shoot 'em up fans use the term "Euroshmup" as a term for badly designed shoot 'em ups, though few ones like Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Demonstar, Tyrian, and Jets'n'Guns escape the stigma.
  • American- or Taiwanese-developed NES games tend to get this treatment as well. They're either an unlicensed Obvious Beta or they suffer from The Problem with Licensed Games or both.
    • This tends to be pretty relative though, as not every unlicensed NES game made in America and Taiwan is considered to be trash (though the majority of them are).
  • European video games of the 1980s and 1990s developed a reputation for lacking the polish of their American and Japanese counterparts, with issues like poor collision detection or unsteady frame rates being fairly common. This got to a point where the term "Eurojank" (a portmanteau of "European jankiness") was used by game players to describe these titles, with some bemoaning the lack of Eurojank in more modern titles.


  • Even American products aren't immune to this; for a very long time after The '70s, Detroit cars were seen as crap (but see below for a major exception). It's only been very recently that this has changed. Ditto for British volume-produced cars.
    • The automobile industry is simply awash in this trope, but usually inverted, with companies producing elegant luxury goods outside their home region and more modest products within. In the United States, German companies are known for producing dazzling luxury cars, VW notwithstanding. Within Europe, however, Mercedes-Benz also makes economy cars and buses, which would surprise Americans but wouldn't get a second glance from Europeans. And then you see this rolling down a dirt path in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in America, aside from the occasional sports car (like the Corvette or the Ford GT) and Cadillac's V-series sport sedans, American automakers are known for trucks, family sedans, inexpensive muscle cars, and luxo-barges. Australia and Europe have models like this. Here are a few more American cars Americans in the States don't get to buy. Japan is a notable exception, with relatively few European or American high end luxury models but fleets and fleets of practical consumer cars.
      • And now Chrysler is trying to invoke and invert this, starting with an ad spot featuring Eminem during the 2011 Super Bowl: 'Imported from Detroit'.
      • The current "Ypsilon" car model sells in the UK under the US Chrysler brand and is advertised with voiceover and music clearly trying to evoke the US. In truth, it's a European-designed, Polish-built car sold in most of Europe under the Italian "Lancia" brand(!) by Fiat, who now own both.
    • British cars produced en masse cranked this trope Up to Eleven in the 1970s, and never fully recovered. Before then, they were among the world's best. See also the True Art Is Made in Country X below.
    • French cars have never really had a good reputation since the 2CV, a classic example of The Alleged Car. Some joke that rubbish cars are the only ones the French can be trusted with. In actuality though, the 2CV is not a terrible car for what it was designed to do. It was designed to be a highly cheap car that could get two people across a city with a reasonable amount of safety. It was neither designed to be fast nor to go offroad. But as an economy car, it worked. It was THE car of American grad students in the period.


  • Chinese products tend to have this reputation. Due to their massive labor pool and limited government oversight, China became a powerhouse of low-cost production, resulting in a massive proliferation of low-cost, low-quality manufacturing. Poor oversight and complex supply chains has resulted in everything from tainted food and drink to counterfeit parts. There's been a substantial effort to change this reputation, and transition to a center of high technology production (much like what happened in Japan and Taiwan starting in the 1960's). Whether this effort will be successful remains to be seen.
    • There was an urban legend about a town in China (or wherever) that changed its name to "Usa" so they could stamp and tag their products as "MADE IN USA".
    • Back in the mid 20th century, it was Japan that was considered the country that made cheap crap. It was a running joke that a bad product would have a "MADE IN JAPAN" label on it. This changed in the 90s, when Japan became known for high quality tech products and cars. Now China is the country that they make jokes about. The urban legend about the town called Usa used to be told about Japan.
  • In the 1920s and early 1930s, when Richard Adams was growing up, Made In Germany was considered this in Britain. The phrase "On the Fritz" for products that are broken may be related to this.
    • This reputation was acquired in the mid-19th century, when producers in many rising industrialized countries trying to catch up with Britain made cheap, inferior copies and imitations of British products, including quite a number of British firms. This became an embarrassment to German industrialists, especially after a German adjudicator remarked that the German products shown at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia (1876) were in the majority "cheap and bad". This led to efforts to rectify the situation by raising industrial standards and instilling a greater sense of pride in their products among German firms. At the same time, inferior German products (also, apparently, the protectionist measures adopted by the German government) led the British parliament to enact the Merchandise Mark Act of 1887, which made it obligatory to mark wares with their country of origin. However, as just then the Germans were bringing their house in order and increasingly started to export products that were of as good or better quality than British ones or produced more cost-effectively, the Merchandise Mark Act backfired and the "Made in Germany" tag intended as a mark of shame came to be regarded as a mark of quality the world over and a matter of national pride in Germany. (The centenary of the imposition of the "Made in Germany" mark thus was commemorated with a special postage stamp in West Germany in 1988). However, as Richard Adams' example shows, old attitudes die hard, which can be seen as Britain living in a false sense of Victorian complacency, which may actually have been a disadvantage vis-à-vis the German competition.
  • Bad customer/tech support is often joked/portrayed as coming from India (if you're American, British or Australasian) or Eastern Europe/North Africa (if you're European, although Europeans also get a lot of awful calls from India too).
  • Canadian cartoons suffer from this sort of reputation in the online "cartoon community"note , especially if they were originally commissioned for Teletoon or YTV and weren't from Nelvana (never mind that Nelvana has made multiple series for both channels). While a good number of shows do manage to gain fandoms, Canadian animation (especially modern series) is still synonymous with "terrible, low-effort cartoons full of Toilet Humor and cheap animation" to many and deemed an Acceptable Target for it, most notably with many reviewers like The Mysterious Mr. Enter, PhantomStrider, MarsReviews, and Man of 1000 Thoughts. Interestingly, this sentiment began approximately around the late 2000s to early 2010s when the infamous Johnny Test was being severely overplayed on Cartoon Network, leading some to believe the American-Canadian series may have been a major catalyst for this stigma. Interestingly, Canadian preschool cartoons have generally managed to escape the ire of the "all Canadian cartoons are bad" crowd (with the notable exception of Caillou), but this is due to the fact the these kinds of shows are ignored by them more than anything else. Averted in the case of the National Film Board of Canada, which has long had a solid reputation and continues to do so today, although it tends to be overlooked by animation fans due to being more "artsy" than the series they're generally interested in.
    • On a more general level, Canadian film and television is stereotyped as being entirely mediocre, due to how the United States' prolific and influential output vastly overshadows its northern neighbor's relatively small entertainment industry, the fact Canadian movies and TV shows are generally made on lower budgets than American ones, and how even in Canada, Canadian Media tends to receive little attention compared to the glut of American media Canadians are more aware of and consume more regularly (to the point where laws were introduced in the 1970s specifically to try and encourage the growth of Canadian media, which has unfortunately led to the misconception that Canadian TV is mass-produced for the sole purpose of fulfilling these laws). A lot of this is related to the famous inferiority complex of Canadian culture, and it's not uncommon to hear people say that not even Canadians like their own movies and TV shows (although a decent number of Canadian Series have become quite well-liked by many Canadians, and even a few Americans). Once again, the NFB remains an aversion, as its long history of critical acclaim is very well-known (although most of its work remains obscure even to Canadians).
  • Belgian houses. To the point that they are the first thing that come up if you type in the word "ugly" in a search engine.
  • North Korean spaceships. To a lot of people NADA (National Aerospace Development Administration, pretty much the North Korean equivalent of the NASA) is Spanish for nothing. If your space program has a 20% chance of success there is a reason why foreign countries use your spaceship for a laughingstock.
  • Some companies whose products are manufactured overseas (especially in China, India, Indonesia, etc.), will proudly say on the package "Designed in [Insert First World Country Here]!" This, of course, means nothing, because regardless of where the product was designed, it's where it was made that matters to most people, but companies are hoping customers will think the product was built in the same place it was designed and therefore be of better quality.
  • German cinema gets this sometimes, thanks to people like Uwe Boll, who exploited a (now thankfully closed) German tax loophole nicknamed "stupid German money" that made people rich off of money-losing movies.
  • Houses in Europe are made from stone and/or concrete and built to last generations and are often handed down to the next generation. Houses in the US are often made of wood and bought and sold like underpants. That explains the surprised reactions many Europeans have when seeing what "a bit of wind/floodwater/earthquake" does to American houses.
    • Note that this does not apply to a lot of the housing stock in older U.S. cities (e.g. the famous brownstones of New York and rowhouses of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and D.C.), which (like European houses) are often built of stone or at least sturdy brick, and last for decades upon decades (centuries is generally an overstatement given the relative youth of even the oldest U.S. cities). Newer homes in Florida are also built out of heavy concrete, complete with impact-resistant windows, to withstand the hurricanes that the state receives, while homes on the West Coast are reinforced to resist earthquakes.

Examples of "True Art and Products are Made in Country X"

  • Car manufacturers from Germany often boast "German Engineering". Opel's campaign starring Claudia Schiffer with the slogan "It's a German" is a good example.
    • Parodied in the Volkswagen "Unpimp my ride" commercials.
  • Pace picante sauce commercial: "Pace is made in San Antonio... by folks that know what picante sauce is supposed to taste like." / "This stuff's made in New York City."note 
    • In the original commercial the line was "New Jersey", but they changed it to NYC... because Pace's competitor Ortega is based in New Jersey.
    • Ironically, NYC has a substantial Mexican population, making said commercial... a little unfair. Also, Pace has been owned for several years by Campbell Soup...which is also based in New Jersey.
  • The "Made in America" logo in ads, though that one tends to be less a boast of quality and more an appeal to patriotism.
    • "Made In Australia" logos are meant to be both a boast and an appeal to patriotism, especially when related to food.
  • Coffee producers often boast that their beans come from Colombia, Kenya, or Costa Rica.
  • Produce sold in the U.S. often advertise that they are from one of the U.S. states that usually produce that produce. For example, "Florida oranges," "California oranges," "Georgia peaches," "Washington apples," "Michigan cherries," "Washington cherries," "Michigan apples,"note  "New Jersey blueberries," "Jersey tomatoes"note  "Idaho potatoes," and "Vidalia onions" (Vidalia is a town in Georgia).
    • Some such commercials come across less as "it's from state Y, so you know it's good" and more "the Y state X lobby is desperate for you to buy their X. Please. It doesn't totally suck." Ads for California cheese tend to feel this way, at least if you grew up in some other part of the US (i.e. most of it) where Wisconsin is usually regarded as the premium source for dairy products generally and cheese in particular, followed by Vermont and Upstate New York (which is practically Vermont).
  • The advertisement for Shamwow.
    Vince Offer: Made in Germany. You know the Germans always make good stuff.
  • The German instant pizza label Wagner (owned by Swiss firm Nestlé) once produced a number of commercials of people in typically pizza-consuming countries like Italy, America and the Holy See fawning over how great the pizza they're eating tastes, until someone reveals that it's German, and from Wagner. Cue the diners' shock and awe-struck faces. Here be the American one.
    Dad: It's so... American.
    Kids: A real American pizza!
    Mom: Oh! It's from Deutschland. It's Wagner!
    Family: [Beat] We love Wagner. We love Deutschland!

    Audio Plays 
  • In one Big Finish Doctor Who story, the Fourth Doctor is being threatened with a fondue fork. He proceeds to gush about how it was made in Sheffield, and wonders if they still make steel there.

  • On Monty Python's Matching Tie and Handkerchief album, during the opening announcement about how this is the Executive Version of the album, we hear that the album was made from "the very finest Columbian extruded polyvinyl," and "the center hole has been created to fit exactly on your spindle with all the precision of finest Swiss craftsmanship."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Robin's father's sword is noted to be made of Spanish steel by the Sheriff Of Nottingham, which he states is superior to English blades. Indeed, during the final confrontation, he uses it to destroy the sword Robin takes from one of his Mooks.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Dornish wine has a reputation not only in Westeros, but in Essos as well. Valyria was historically noted for its steel blades, but as the Valyrian Empire died centuries ago and took its metallurgy and swordsmithing with it, this bleeds into Lost Technology.
  • Baptism of Fire has Geralt discuss with Zoltan the merits of various types of sword. Geralt is convinced that the Elven sword he's been given as a replacement for his destroyed Witcher's steel sword is among the best crafted, but Zoltan eventually manages to convince him to use a Dwarven sihil, which turns out to be not only an Absurdly Sharp Blade, but also surprisingly light, making it very easy to use. In any case, subsequent books note that Gnomish craftsmanship trumps both Elven and Dwarven, with the sword that Leo Bonhart buys for Ciri being incredibly well crafted.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, the highest-falutin' grand dame from back home came to visit and critique the Clampetts' lifestyle. She was slightly impressed with the antiques that the Clampetts had in their house, which came from England and France; but her antiques came from even farther away — Japan. Cue Laugh Track.
  • Saturday Night Live sketch "All Things Scottish", starring Mike Myers. Their slogan: "If it's not Scottish, it's CRAP!"
  • Invoked in Mad Men: Sterling Cooper gets Heineken beer as a client, and although both Heineken and most of the SC team want to focus on increasing the brand's bar distribution, Don has the idea of Up Marketing the product. The strategy would involve playing on the "Imported from Holland" angle—with the importation from Europe being a supposed mark of quality—and selling it in grocery stores to rich housewives, who would serve it at parties as a trendy alternative to wine (as opposed to the cold domestic brews their husbands drank alone or with their buddies at informal gatherings).

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • In Achewood, anything labeled "Hecho en Mexico" will manifest "Mexican Magical Realism", which can be as elaborate as Time Travel or as simple as a van where it rains on the inside.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons, Lisa never dreamed of Homer's American loaner car designed in Germany, assembled in Mexico from the parts from Canada could be so amazing.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Long Feng tries to convince the Earth King the reason the wreckage of a huge freakin' drill (clearly meant for breaching the walls of Ba Sing Se) has a giant Fire Nation symbol on it is that it was imported: "You know you can't trust domestic machinery."
    • Zuko presents a child with his favorite knife, and asks him to read the inscription, which has always brought him much wisdom. Unfortunately, the child reads the "made in the Earth Kingdom" one first.
    • Much later, in Legend of Korra, Varrick states that he imported the red carpet from the Fire Nation, because "they make the best red stuff."

    Real Life 

Food and Drink

  • Scotch (Scottish) whisky.
    • Irish whiskey also.
  • Swiss or Belgian chocolate.
  • Belgian or German beer.
    • Czech beer. Full stop.
  • Danish bacon.
  • Danish butter cookies (you know, the tins for Christmas).
  • Hersheys attracted ire from chocolate purists for seeking to ban imports of British confectionery into the USA. Hersheys has the license to locally manufacture Cadburys products in the USA, however it does so to American production standards. Hershey's chose to restrict its import instead of sucking up to the Cadburys fandom. Expat Brits in the USA weren't happy.
    • Ireland has its own distinct variant of Cadbury's which has been made with local produce for many years. Heavily advertised as being made with "a glass and a half of Irish milk", it's highly regarded by many as being superior to the original British version.
    • Australia is much the same as Ireland with the regional factory in temperate Tasmania and the emphasis on fresh local milk. Comparisons usually call it a close contest.
  • French Wine used to be undisputed greatest, but has lost a lot of ground since the controversial 1976 "Judgment of Paris" to upstart "New World" wines from the Americas (particularly Argentina, Chile, California, and a few other US states), Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Nonetheless, lesser wine-growing countries like England or Austria will usually hold blind taste tests against French, rather than Australian or Californian, vintages to prove they can make good wine.
    • Austria has about 50 times the winegrowing area of England, making the one decidedly "lesser" than the other.
  • Similarly, French cookery used to be the absolute pinnacle of culinary achievement and French restaurants the height of sophistication. Although this is less the case now, you still find that the menus in any high-class restaurant of other cuisines frequently describe dishes using French terms; jus, timbale, coulis, entree. Of course, part of this is that the French were the first nation associated with international "cuisine", so they called naming rights, like musical notation all being Italian.
    • These days, it tends to be Italian cooking that's on the pedestal instead as they prefer simple flavourful "peasant food" over fussy sauces and preparations.
      • In part this is because Italian food does lend itself well to lower-class cooking; it's next to impossible to find a French-style restaurant in the US that's not ultrafancy, while you can find restaurants and bistros for most any other food style.
  • This extends to products named after a region of origin and known for their quality; appellation laws permit such products to be thusly named only if they're genuinely made there. You can't call it Champagne, Parmesan (well, Parmigiano), or Scotch unless it's actually from there.
    • Not all appellation laws apply internationally; the above is the case within the EU but in the US "California champagne" widely sold as such and Parmesan is domestic by default.
      • That's because the authentic Parmesan is called Parmigiano-Reggiano. Knock off brands will still use "Parmesan."
      • By the same token, the US signed an agreement with France and the EU in 2006 to enforce French/EU law concerning champagne, with a Grandfather Clause allowing brands of sparkling wine which had established use of "champagne" in 2006 to continue to do so as long as they very clearly labeled their bottles as [PLACE OF ORIGIN] champagne with the [PLACE OF ORIGIN] in very large letters.
    • Within the United States, Tennessee whiskey must be made within the borders of the State of Tennessee; this has been confirmed by at least one international agreement (namely NAFTA). Also, bourbon whiskey—which also has a good reputation as a better-made product — must be made within the United States.
  • Italian olive oil is treated like this, though an awful lot of the famous firms buy their oil from other countries in bulk quantities (usually Greece or Spain). A not insubstantial amount is cut with other oils and produced by companies run by The Mafia. No, seriously.
    • Similarly, many pasta manufacturers now buy their wheat from the U.S. (North Dakota specifically), but they continue to use Italian imagery because it sells better.
  • Prestigious American microbreweries like North Coast Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head are all the rage among (American) beer snobs, to the point where beer drinkers anywhere will tell you: If you want interesting beer, go to America. We can't guarantee quality, but that is where the experimentation is. Within the US, certain regions have reputations for either consistent quality or consistent inventiveness; Washington and Oregon (which are near America's biggest hops fields) are most prominent, but Michigan (which has some of the most successful craft breweries and draws on the state's agricultural bounty and abundant supply of clean water) and California (one of the early centers of the craft beer movement) are also highly reputable.
    • This also rings true of craft beers in other New World nations like Australia and New Zealand.
  • While the status of Canadian technology and manufacture goods is dubious, the quality of a natural resource is generally assured when you're told that it was grown, mined, raised, et cetera, in Canada. This is mostly because Canada is the most developed of the world's various resource-rich nations, with more sophisticated processing facilities and much stricter quality control policies than almost anywhere else.
    • Ores refined in Canada are generally regarded as incredibly pure. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is the purest form of gold in the world.
    • Canadian fish is generally touted on menus; especially freshwater fish, salmon or cod, as is Canadian livestock, as most stock is grain-fed, rather than corn-fed, which most agree tastes better.
    • The quality of Canadian resources has been celebrated since the nation's inception. The whole country was basically founded on the quality of Canadian beaver pelts, turned into fancy hats, and later, Canadian trees were said to form every mast in the Royal Navy (the Navy had been sourcing its masts and other shipbuilding materials from the Thirteen Colonies or Scandinavia, but when that relationship went south or got interrupted, Canada picked up the slack).
    • Forestry is still a major part of the nation's economy, especially in the province of British Columbia. It's actually a Berserk Button for American loggers and lumber producers, such that the US and Canada have been involved in a long-running trade dispute over it, the US accusing Canada of subsidizing its lumber industry to give it an unfair advantage and Canada, fully in keeping with this trope, asserting in response that its lumber industry is just better-run and that American tariffs are giving them an unfair advantage.
  • Argentinian beef is regarded as some of the world's finest. Other cattle breeds that get this treatment are wagyu cattle of Japan (which gives us Kobe beef) and the Scottish Aberdeen Angus. American-style Kobe beef was created by crossbreeding wagyu and Angus cattle.
    • Irish beef has a very good reputation worldwide as well, with Ireland being the only EU country currently allowed to export beef to the United States.
  • An interesting subversion comes in the form of Stilton cheese. Stilton cannot be made in the village of Stilton in Cambridgeshire, as it must originate in Derbyshire, Leicstershire or Nottinghamshire.
  • American fast food, particularly of normal restaurants instead of food chains. If you want a good, heavy, greasy meal, you want an American mom-and-pop diner/restaurant/whatever. Also, with the emphasis on "fast," America is rather unique in having a whole culture around food trucks.
    • For plenty of Europeans the fast food that is considered the best is the Italian one. Aside from codifying all of the conventions of fast food that the US would continue further building upon it manages to give us stuff such as a pizza, an ice cream or an Espresso, which are all delivered in a fast pace while still delivering a product of high quality. The same can not be said about the US fast food, which for many Europeans is a dark factory of mass production.
  • Irish milk and butter. It's been joked that the Austrian government liked it so much that they traded Steyr AUGs for it.


  • Vehicles from Australia, especially four-wheel drive trucks or sport utility trucks, are generally described as being made to survive "harsh Australian conditions". All the deadly animals and so forth.
  • In an inversion of the situation with all other consumer autos, most Americans won't take a truck seriously if it's made by a Japanese automaker. To them, the only real trucks are made by Ford, GM and Chrysler — or rather, one of those three, depending on who you ask.
    • Ironically, the Texas-built Toyota Tundra has been ranked as more "American" than the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, which are built mainly in Guadalajara, Mexico and have fewer American-made parts in them. And the most American-made vehicle of them all? The Toyota Camry, a car that is otherwise synonymous with the Japanese auto industry.
    • Of course, these people are forgetting the Toyota Hilux, the only vehicle that has ever been driven to the North Pole. Granted, the American version (the Invincible) is much less impressive.
  • Japanese cars have long been seen as being built at an untouchable standard of quality, although the scandal over the Toyota recall (and previously the Mitsubishi defects issue) has tarnished this image. Japanese (and Korean) cars also have a reputation of being prime targets of theft since they tend to use parts that also fit into other makes and models.
    • During the 1970s and 1980s, American motorists switched to small Japanese economy cars in the wake of the 1970s oil crises. Detroit's Big Three car makers, used to the "bigger is better" mantra, were caught off guard and lost significant market share to Japanese car makers. This led to massive job cuts at the Big Three and the phenomenon known as "Japan-bashing" which lasted until the Japanese bubble burst of the early 1990s. Additionally, Japanese car makers later invested in numerous factories in America to produce vehicles tailored to local tastes.
    • There was a big issue over whether the first American-built Japanese brand cars in the 1980s would maintain their quality. It turned out the real problem wasn't American workers, it was American car company management.
    • Recent issues with Japanese cars have been due to them outsourcing parts to other countries. Many consider the inclusion of French-made parts to be a major cause of this.
  • In the US, this applies to German and British luxury cars and Italian sports cars.
  • British cars were this before the 1960s, when most of them came under the British Leyland umbrella. See also Country X Art Ghetto section above.
    • That being said, Britain still maintains a place in the world of luxury and high-performance cars. Rolls-Royce and Bentley remain the gold standard in automotive luxury worldwide (the only automaker to come close within the past 20 years is Mercedes with its various attempts to revive Maybach), Aston Martin and Jaguar still produce fine luxury sports cars, Land Rover is still competitive in luxury SUVs, and both Lotus and McLaren make well-respected ridiculous racing/near-racing sports cars. And for niche customers, there's also Morgan, which makes a super-limited range of roadsters by hand, with an annual production of only 850 per year. Of course, of these, only Aston Martin and McLaren are entirely British anymore: Rolls is owned by BMW, Bentley is owned by Volkswagen, Land Rover and Jaguar are both owned by the Indian Tata Motors, the Chinese company Geely owns Lotus, and an Italian investment firm has a majority stake in Morgan. However, all are physically made in Britain and retain enough British involvement to command that British panache (and the price tag that comes with it; of these brands, you won't see any new cars except the Jaguar and Land Rover for less than $100,000 U.S., and even those two typically go for around $50,000 for their entry-level offerings and $60,000-$70,000+ for the higher-end stuffnote ).
  • In Europe, Fiat is a volume automaker like Ford or Volkswagen. In America, they market themselves on "seductive Italian design" and sell hot hatches like the 500 and roadsters like the 124 Spider,note  with their less sexy cars going to their corporate sisters at Chrysler and Dodge.
  • Russian cars are usually nothing to write home about, but Russian trucks generally offer an excellent bang for the buck. They are usually quite spartan, but simple and reliable, with few things to break, and if they break, most anyone can fix them in any roadside garage. Small commercial trucks like GAZelle are selling like ice cream on a hot day around the less developed world, and KamAZ has built itself quite a name on the successes of its team in the rally circuit. But it's their off-road heavy-duty ones that are really best in the world. During the hurricane Katrina relief effort Mexican Navy Ural-4320 6×6's were reportedly brought to the streets of the New Orleans, because no other truck could come through.


  • Euro Footy has the most prestigious tournaments of Association Football. In Brazil, seeing youngsters disregard their local and still very competitive tournament for European teams is a point of contention (including the term "Playstation Generation", claiming many fans only like the European teams after playing much FIFA Soccer, Pro Evolution Soccer and Football Manager).
    • Because different countries tend to follow different doctrines in regards to tactics, players that come from said countries tend to be more specialized in certain roles, making them more valuable than players from other nations in certain positions:
      • Italian goalkeepers at actual goalkeeping. German ones for ball control with the feet.
      • Italian defenders, as a good defensive system is the core of the Italian school of football.
      • Spanish or German playmakers. The former for creativity, the latter for efficiency.
      • Brazilian wingers or attacking midfielders, due to speed and rapid dribbling.
      • Argentinian strikers, with very offensive football being valued in the country.
      • For the clubs themselves, British Footy Teams probably hold the most prestige overall due to the sheer popularity and money granted by the English Premier League.
  • American Basketball is easily the most competitive in the world, with the best players of the game being Americans themselves.
  • American Baseball is also the most competitive scene in the world, and many of the best players are Americans. However, players from certain Hispanophone Caribbean countries—particularly the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Venezuela—also have a reputation for excellent and hardworking players (and fanatical fans).
  • Ice Hockey is a notoriously exclusive club. It's been said that in the world there are the Big Six nations and everyone else. In the whole history of international Ice Hockey only ~10% of the World and Olympic championships were won by the teams outside of this club.
    • Canadian players. Justified as they invented the contemporary version of the game, which is also the country's national sport.
    • US is basically a co-founder of the sport, as the first, oldest and most famous league — the NHL — actually spans both US and Canada.
    • Russians. Famous for their rivalry with the Canadians, which is a Serious Business in both nations, and dominating the European drafts of the NHL.
    • Czechs are also quite prominent in the game, and their national team also has a bit of the rivalry going on with the Red Machine, often to the point of Good Old Fisticuffs both on and off the ice. Not that the Canucks are not partial to the good scuffle themselves.
    • Swedes and Finns round up the European four, with the Finns being notorious for never winning an Olympic gold in their whole history, but still being regarded as good players.
  • Russia, Canada, Japan note , and the United States are the top four countries to produce gold medalists. That said, both the U.S. and Russia are slipping.
  • Jamaican, Kenyan and Ethiopian track & field Runners and marathonists are among the best of the world. There is some indication that both cultural aspects (many people in Ethiopia regularly walk long distances in high altitudes) as well as genetic aspects play a role in this, but interestingly enough the countries that are good at long distance running are mostly in East Africa and the people who are good at sprinting are mostly of West African descent (either born and raised in West Africa or descendants of West African slaves).
  • For obvious reasons the best players of American Football come from the USA and to a lesser extent Canada with places like Mexico, Japan or the entirety of Europe somewhere down the line. This is so pronounced that most European leagues of American Football actually limit the number of "Americans" per team in lieu of a salary cap.
  • The best surfers in the world come from Australia, Brazil or the USA, Hawaii in particular for the latter due to the huge importance surfing has in its culture.
  • Rugby Union players from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Ireland, Wales, England, Scotland and South Africa.
  • In practically all women's sports, the Americans are top dogs by a wide margin, even sports that Americans aren't known for such as Euro Footy. Softball was once an Olympic event until the American team played a perfect Olympics — not giving up a single run in the entirety of an Olympic Games. Such was the dominance of the Americans that the game was removed from the Olympics.


  • Japanese Anime and Manga. Almost every non-Japanese work that uses a similar style results in people complaining that it's merely a cheap ripoff. While there are exceptions, they're far from the rule, especially with the indie video game boom. If you're a member of Generation X or Generation Y, you've been exposed to (if not an outright fan of) something with Japanese roots (Power Rangers, Sailor Moon, Pokémon, any other anime and many video game series). The highest-grossing media franchise in the world is Pokémon, and many of the franchises on this list are Japanese.
  • French animation is seen with the same prestige as anime, to the point where even popular anime production studios tend to hire French recruits and collaborate with the French animation scene. On the other hand, America seems to be the popular choice for non-conspicuous 3D animation.
  • American films and cartoons, especially Hollywood productions. Only in the very beginning of the film industry was this untrue; the first center of film production was in New Jersey, where the technology had been invented, but Thomas Edison developed a reputation as someone touchy about the patent to his machines, and other would-be filmmakers wanted to be very far away from him indeed. Around the same time, World War I devastated the nascent film industries of many European nations, such that it took decades to catch up. Ever since, Hollywood has been synonymous with big budgets and glamorous spectacle of a sort that only they could afford.
    • The lone exception is the French, who usually prefer either Japanese films or their own films over Hollywood. Hollywood-bashing is common there. (American cartoons still have the same reputation there, though.) The lone period of time when this viewpoint wasn't in effect was, ironically enough, The '50s, which were seen by American film buffs as a Dork Age, seeing as how that decade marked the height of the Fall of the Studio System. French critics, however, saw the works of filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Nicholas Ray, Howard Hawks, and Orson Welles as quietly revolutionary, especially in comparison to the output of the French film industry at the time. Their love of Hollywood cinema led to the emergence of the French New Wave, whose innovations eventually came back across The Pond in the form of the New Hollywood movement of the late '60s and '70s.
  • Canadian cartoons have this reputation in some circles, especially with older series from the 80s and 90s and those made by Nelvana, as well as anything from the National Film Board of Canada. While the stigma against the entirety of Canadian animation as being nothing but lazy, mass-produced garbage (with one or two exceptions occasionally being mentioned) is still dominant (see the Real Life folder in the "Terrible Art and Products are Made in Country X" section above), there is still a sizeable number of modern Canadian animated series that have successfully broken past the "all Canadian cartoons are bad" stigma that arose in the late 2000s and early 2010s to become Cult Classics or popular and acclaimed shows in their own right. There has also been some effort to reclaim the reputation of Canadian animation by certain reviewers like The Wacky Delhi and Benzie Johnson, as well as by Canadian Internet personalities like Nitro Rad and TheCartoonGamer8000, but they ultimately remain the minority opinion in the greater online animation community.
  • British comedies and music.
    • Do actors count as a product?


  • German and Japanese products. Also may extend to countries with German-speaking populations like Switzerland and Austria.
    • For photographers, all the best stuff is Made in Germany or Made in Japan. The knock-offs of the German stuffnote  are made in Russia (for some very interesting reasons pertaining to the end of World War II), and the knock-offs of the Japanese stuff (including many many store-brand cameras using lens mounts varyingly similar to the Pentax K-Mount) tend to be Made in China. For what amazing photography innovations is the US known? Disposable cameras. Granted, disposables probably extended the use of film as an amateur/consumer medium by at least five years...
      • Note that bullet point applies only to still photography. The US is together with Germany the leader in film equipment, where the two major brands are Arri (German) and Panavision (American) and each is more or less the market leader on each side of the Atlantic. Panavision has dropped when it comes to digital cinema cameras, where Arri Alexa is the big favorite, but closely followed by American RED and having beaten out Japanese Sony (the previous king) which has made it's new model that might be the standard... Of course, Panavision gets the last laugh in the US though, as it's an integrated camera/lens manufacturer and rental house (to the extent that it sells none of its cameras) in a business where almost all the customers are rental houses anyway.
    • Unsurprisingly, given the importance of good glass for camera manufacture, Germany and Japan are also highly regarded for the quality of their optical instruments (binoculars, microscopes, and the like). While German brands like Zeiss or Leica have been well-established since the start of the twentieth century, Japanese manufacturers built up their reputation after the Second World War, being imported under American names before brands like Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax came to the fore. That said, an increasing number of their products are now sourced or wholly produced overseas, most notably in China, but also in other Asian countries such as Thailand or Malaysia.
    • In the '70s, '80s, and '90s, Japanese electronics were considered the best, thanks to Sony's innovative Trinitron and Walkman products. Also, there's a good chance that more than half of the whiteware appliances around you have Japanese names.
    • For a while motherboard and power supply manufacturers were touting their boards were fitted with "Japanese capacitors". It wasn't that Japanese capacitors were somehow superior in every way shape and form, but computer hardware manufacturer's original suppliers allegedly stole a formula for capacitor electrolyte and made a faulty version of it. More about it can be read at this forum post.
    • Capacitors from Japanese manufacturers appear to still dominate the hi-fi market, with the opinion that if it doesn't have something from Nippon Chemicon or Elpida, forget about it.
    • Zigzagged with German tanks. On one hand, the Wehrmacht were the first to appreciate armour as a mobile, versatile weapon of war in its own right, when most other militaries saw them as either support weapons for the infantry or substitutes for traditional cavalry. They pioneered many features that have since become standard, namely the three-man turret and radio communication, which made their tanks far more responsive in combat. All of these factors offset some glaring qualitative and quantitative disparities and allowed the German military to achieve its stunning successes in the first three years of the war. However, their later (and rather more famous) designs like the Tiger I and II or the Panther tended to be over-engineered, difficult and costly to manufacture, and often unreliable, despite the superlative quality of their armament and armour. Post-war, the Leopard I and Leopard II have become something of a standard for tank design, being widely adopted by militaries around the world and more often than not setting the benchmark for firepower and mobility, if not always survivability.
    • The Swiss and clocks (the cuckoo clock may be the only thing they ever invented, but damn they do it well...) And of course, Harry Lime forgot to mention pocket knives.
      • Except that cuckoo clocks were invented (and are still mostly produced) in the Black Forest region of Germany, not Switzerland. Moreover, movements (mechanisms, that is) for most of the budget Swiss clocks and watches are made in Russia and Asia, and are purchased in bulk by Swiss watchmakers for casing and reselling.
    • Before Apple, it was Japanese cell phones that held this reputation during the Turn of the Millennium, equipped with audio/video playback (including broadcast TV and radio), video cameras, 3G mobile broadband, instant messaging, email, MP3 players, GPS navigation, and e-money services at a time when most Western cell phones (save for a few niche devices like the business-oriented BlackBerry and the youth-focused Danger Hiptop/T-Mobile Sidekick) stopped at text messaging and still cameras. Needless to say, Japanese keitai were a Forbidden Fruit for many Western cell phone users. Unfortunately, they wound up being too advanced to run on the primitive cellular networks outside Japan, and so Japanese cell phone makers turned inward and focused on the domestic market almost entirely, allowing them to get caught completely off-guard by the smartphone revolution. The unique qualities of Japanese cell phones, and how they failed to catch on outside Japan, led to the term "Galápagos syndrome" to describe it. On the other hand, the overreliance on mobile phones has led to the Japanese almost missing out the Internet boom on the Oughts, as few Japanese owned a computer at home, due to the expense and cramped living spaces, only saved by the eleventh hour by the Internet-capable smartphones (including iPhone, of course) and cheap and plentiful laptops arriving mid-decade.
  • Many companies tell us that some food product or piece of technology is from a random European country (often Italy or Belgium for food, and Germany for technology) without any indication of why this is supposed to be a good thing. For instance, a Home Hardware commercial that advertises knives made of "German steel", which could mean anything from referring to the area around the city of Solingen, where high-quality knives and related steel products have been made for hundreds of years, or simply being made with steel sold by a German intermediary.
  • This also goes for the firearms industry. Some weapons are touted as having "European ergonomics." This is often a reference to shaped grips, stocks, and hand-guards, despite many European guns having downright horrible ergonomics or minimalist designs.
    • Generally speaking, if it's from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, or the Czech Republic it can be expected to be of high quality. If it's French, however.... Ironically, most of the Belgian weapons factories are based in the French-speaking Walloon parts of the country, and most famous guns to come out of Belgium were designed by either American John Browning, or his French-speaking student Dieudonné Saive. Joining these countries, Italy is well-known for quality handguns and shotguns.
    • Russian weapons, especially AK-pattern rifles, are well-known for their durability and reliability under harsh conditions. The AK-47 in particular has a well-deserved worldwide reputation for Nigh-Invulnerability.
  • Several UK adverts for Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo (a shampoo made to prevent hair loss) proclaims itself as "German Engineering For Your Hair", and tells you pretty much nothing about what it is (beyond being caffeinated shampoo, being German, and selling very well in Germany) or why you would want it.
  • Britain may be well the first country one thinks of upon the mention of 'Commandos' (being the first country to form such units in the modern sense of highly-trained special forces).
    • The original spelling of the word was Kommando, light and mobile irregular Boer troops who made a massive impact on the British during the Boer War. So it was South Africa that first raised commando units, technically.
  • Cuban cigars, though other nations are starting to catch up. They held a Forbidden Fruit status for decades in the US as a result of the Cuban Revolution and the ensuing embargo.
  • Egyptian cotton, famously soft, light, fine, and breathable thanks to the long fibers and other factors.
  • "Made in New Mexico", for silver/turquoise jewelry assumed to be made by Native Americans.
    • Although this assumption is mostly based on the fact that if you buy it in New Mexico, the clerk you bought it from was almost certainly a Native American (and likely a woman), specifically to cause this assumption.
  • The high-end bicycle market is split between Japan (components), the US and Canada (Mountain, BMX, and hand-built steel frames), and Italy (racing bikes), Anything made or assembled in those countries is high dollar, but most brands also source parts from China and Taiwan, as well as other Asian countries.
  • Dutch bikes are considered a guarantee for quality in the parts of Germany that border to the Netherlands. They can be identified by the chain guard that goes all around the chain.
  • Tanks have been long associated with the Soviet Union, which has not only often led the field in their design, pioneering or popularizing innovations such as high-powered diesel powerplants, autoloaders, smoothbore guns, and explosive-reactive armour tiles, but also in sheer numbers produced. Upon its introduction, the T-34 effectively rewrote the book by combining mobility, survivability, and firepower to a degree unmatched any other tank design at the time of its introduction, and continued to remain highly competitive until the end of the war. At the end of the war, the T-54 did the same by rendering existing heavy and medium tanks obsolete, becoming almost indisputably the first main battle tank, capable of fulfilling almost all functions expected of either type. Both of these are among the most produced armoured fighting vehicles in history, with respective total production figures of 84,000 and 100,000 (estimated).
  • In the nineteeth century the United States was the go-to country for fast sailing ships. Clippers, while limited in cargo capacity, carved out a niche in transporting low bulk/high value goods like tea and opium or passengers, holding onto their crown as transporters until changing market conditions favoured bulk shipping, which in turn was served better by increasingly mature steamships.
  • Up until about World War II, Britain was the place to order warships from. British made warships were made with a combination of a experience and some of the most advanced cutting edge naval tech in the world. Better yet, they would sell anything to just about anyone with the cash.
  • British steel, specifically when Made in Sheffield.
  • Clydebuilt was, up until the mid 20th century, a byword for quality in British ship manufacture. Many shipyards operated along the banks of the River Clyde, particularly around Glasgow, and were considered so valuable that Clydeside became a key target in the Luftwaffe's bombing campaigns. The shipyards employed a great many people, leading to economic devastation when post-WWII competition with newer, cheaper shipyards outside of the UK forced many to close down. There are still a few shipyards surviving today, fabricating state-of-the-art vessels for the Royal Navy, and the term Clydebuilt can still be found being used as a mark of Scottish pride.
  • Ironically (given present connotations, or perhaps not?) China was known for highly-valued rare commodities such as silk, porcelain, and tea, such that the European Age of Exploration was largely driven by the desire to secure a direct sea route there, bypassing Ottoman control. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, it was also the center of world manufacturing, in large part due to inexpensive labor costs, extensive water infrastructure, and lack of administrative barriers to internal trade. All of this not only enabled the production of the aforementioned commodities, which require considerable processing to be made into viable consumer goods, but also of other more common products such as wooden furniture and lacquerware. Nowadays, while China is the leading producer of natural silk and tea leaves, it is no longer the only one, or indeed regarded as providing the best. This is particularly marked with porcelain, where the best examples generally come from either Europe or Japan.
  • Each Apple iProduct is marked on the back as "Designed by Apple in California" right above the legally mandated "Made in China" disclosure, what with California (Silicon Valley specifically) being associated with modernism and high technology. Old-school computer nerds will tell you, though, that it is all at the expense of the true core of the computer innovation — that is, New England, which, with its MIT-centered computer industry, was a forefront of innovation in the Mainframes and Minicomputers era until overshadowed by those Californian upstarts because of the microprocessor boom, a series of dumb corporate blunders, and (according to recent legal/economic analysis) the different approaches Massachusetts and California take on covenants not to compete (Massachusetts enforces them strictly, California refuses to enforce them at all), which affects the ability of talent to start new companies.
  • For a long time, Japanese video games were considered the best in the world, from The 8 Bit Era Of Console Video Games (coming right off The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 all but wiping out American home console development) up through the Sixth Generation in the early '00s. While successful Western developers did exist, they existed almost entirely in the PC sphere, a niche market compared to the Japanese home consoles that dominated the industry. Since then, Western developers have caught up, though whether Japanese or Western games are the better ones can depend on the game genre (for instance, Bullet Hell games are considered better if they're from Japan) and sometimes personal opinion. Eastern and Western Role Playing Games are basically separate genres now.
  • Up until about 2010 or so when MadCatz made serious use of fan input to create their products, Hori corporation of Japan's Fighting Game arcade joysticks were considered the top of the line product for serious players, and if you bought anything else, you might as well just throw it in the garbage. Of course, the reason MadCatz's sticks are considered good is because they are fitted with Japanese Sanwa parts, which might be getting a bit meta...
  • Soviet Union/Russia and spaceships. First in business, still going. The Chinese space program appears to mostly follow the same steps, with a very similar ship, a very similar early Space Station, and an unmanned lunar rover, but it doesn't sell seats to NASA.
  • English locomotives used to have an excellent reputation due to being the country in which they were invented. Today France, Germany, and Japan are regarded as the best in terms of High Speed Rail rolling stock (though debates which one of those three is the best can get heated), and Switzerland has built itself a niche for regional rolling stock.
  • Something that is true almost universally: any product, made in any country, will have at least a few defenders in that country on the basis of simple national pride, no matter the quality. In The '80s, American automakers frequently appealed to patriotism and supporting American workers as selling points in the face of stiff competition from the Japanese, with Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca so famous for his America-boosting that, for a time, there was serious talk of him running for President. Locally-grown foods also feature heavily in how a country, state, or region crafts its image; witness the pride that the Californians take in their wine, that Wisconsinites take in their cheese, that the French take in both, that Floridians take in their oranges, that Georgians (no, not those Georgians...) take in their peaches, and that Idahoans take in their potatoes. This also factors into import substitution industrialization, where a government supports domestic businesses with the intent of reducing reliance on imports; while its effectiveness as an economic policy is mixed, it holds nationalist appeal for many politicians.
    • Import substitution has another important side: an industrially developed nation, whose products are widely bought around the world, has an additional way to throw its weight around, by initiating trade wars with and imposing sanctions on countries that behave in a way it doesn't like. US in particular has been throwing sanctions right and left, and has initiated a full-on trade war with China, leading the tacit Russo-Chinese alliance to step up their import substitution campaigns.
  • The best precision tools like micrometers and laboratory equipment are held to be Japanese or European (especially German or Swiss). Conversely, the best hand tools like screwdrivers, wrenches, and the like are held to be American.
  • In the field of electronic measurement instruments and experimental automation, OTOH, the virtual monopoly is held by National Instruments and Keithley Instruments, both American companies. Knockoffs of their products are widely made worldwide, particularly in Russia and China, but they still set the standards.
  • Before he became an actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger made his first million dollars by playing to this trope. Shortly after arriving in California, he advertised a construction company he ran as "European bricklayers" and raised his price, and his once-struggling company soon attracted numerous orders from people expecting Germanic Efficiency.
  • However questionable the quality of Chinese products may be, it is an undisputed fact that China has been extraordinarily productive when it comes down to laying down infrastructure. As of 2019, China has the second-largest road and rail network in the world; in terms of expressway length and electrification, it is second to none. This is all the more impressive when considering that it did not have any expressways until 1988, and that it was operating steam locomotives for regular passenger service as late as 2005.note  Their ability to rapidly put down asphalt and rails is such that it has become an important component of its foreign development efforts — which many would consider as an attempt to project Chinese power and influence abroad, if not a form of outright debt trapping.

RULE #1 OF THE 21ST CENTURY: Everything is made in China. No exceptions. MADE IN CHINA

Alternative Title(s): Made In China


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