In the first quarter of 2018, the White House announced new tariffs of 10% on aluminum imports and 25% on steel imports. Initial estimates suggested that these tariffs would amount to $347 million in new taxes for beer consumers.[i]
While there have been claims that tariffs on steel and aluminum would protect American jobs, previous tariffs have shown that American manufacturing jobs are significantly reduced over time as an unintended consequence.[ii]
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 143,500 direct steel and aluminum jobs in the U.S. in 2016. Additionally, of the 12.5 million manufacturing jobs in the U.S., about 6.5 million rely heavily on steel and aluminum.[iii]
The tariffs also are predicted to put at risk an estimated 20,000 positions which rely on the U.S. beer industry, from farmers to restaurant workers.[iv]
Since the tariffs were first announced, the price of aluminum has increased. According to some reports, certain aluminum has spiked in price – a cost that gets passed on to the consumer.
Overall, the financial markets reacted negatively to concerns that the tariffs could initiate trade wars with certain countries. This instability is leading to uncertainty among investors and consumers.
Because tariffs have a substantial impact on the American beer industry, NBWA directly expressed concerns to Congress. NBWA coordinated with industry partners (including the Beer Institute, the Brewers Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute and the American Beverage Association) in stating opposition to any proposal that would increase costs on inputs such as aluminum and steel.
In March, more than 100 members of Congress sent a letter to the White House expressing concern over the tariffs and unintended consequences:
Because tariffs are taxes that make U.S. businesses less competitive and U.S. consumers poorer, any tariffs that are imposed should be designed to address specific distortions caused by unfair trade practices in a targeted way while minimizing negative consequences on American businesses and consumers...
Co-signers of the letter committed to working with the White House and trading partners on “meaningful and effective action.”[v]
Will you oppose tariffs that have unintended consequences on American consumers and that unfairly impose new taxes on American products?
[iv] Beer Institute data