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Oops: Keychains Touting Missouri Jobs Initiative Actually 'Made in China

"Operation label lift"

Officials peeled "Made in China" stickers off these keychains promoting Missouri's new jobs initiative. (St. Louis Today)

Those keychain-flashlight knickknacks to promote Missouri's new "Made in Missouri" jobs package? They were made in China. But officials are hoping state fair-goers won't know that when they're handed out next week.

According to St. Louis Today, officials in the state's economic development department noticed the 6,000 "carabiners" --  keychain-flashlight-pen trinkets -- all bore the "jobs.mo.gov" insignia on one side, but also featured a "Made in China" sticker on the reverse. After much conferring around the department, an email finally went out: "Volunteers" were invited to "assist with removing stickers from the State Fair promo item."

St. Louis Today reported:

On the morning of Aug. 1, the senior staff gathered as requested in the conference room of the agency director.

There, over doughnuts, a cadre of state officials proceeded to methodically erase all traces of China from 6,000 carabiners.

Operation label lift occurred as Gov. Jay Nixon has been criss-crossing the state promoting the "Made in Missouri" jobs campaign and the Legislature is preparing for a special session over whether state tax credits should be used to lure a Chinese air freight hub here.

The agency issued a statement defending both the carabiners and the decision to take off the stickers:

"The Division of Workforce Development went through the state procurement process to purchase these items from a Missouri-based business. Clearly, the division's preference would have been for the Missouri-based retailer to have purchased their supplies from a domestic supplier....The division prepared the items for the State Fair, which included removing plastic baggies and any stickers from the items."

A spokesman for the governor declined to comment to the newspaper.

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