Are imperial units ‘British’?

Continuing with our series on myths, misinformation and fallacies, we look at the claim occasionally made by defenders of imperial units that they are British and that they should continue in use for this reason.

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How US labelling requirements undermine honest labelling in the UK

On EU product labels, metric units are mandatory whereas non-metric units are optional. On US product labels, both metric and US customary (USC) units are mandatory for most products. So a company that wants to sell a product in the EU and the US must use metric and USC on the label unless it produces separate labels for the two markets.

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Will EU-US trade agreement bring in metric-only labelling in the US?

A key point of President Obama’s State of the Union address on 13 February was the proposed EU-US trade agreement, which has been under preliminary discussion for the past year. (See http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/13/state-of-the-union-free-trade-europe).  As this agreement is supposed to remove regulatory barriers to trade, there should now be a serious opportunity to remove the US ban on metric-only labelling of most packages.

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Spare a thought for any would-be Brysons out there

What units do you choose when you are writing travel books and other popular non-fiction for English speakers, wherever they might be found? (Article written by a reader of Bill Bryson’s books) Continue reading “Spare a thought for any would-be Brysons out there”