Brewers have come out swinging against prospective aluminium tariffs, arguing that it will bring a new tax on any beverage in an aluminium can.
President Donald Trump announced on Thursday March 1 his intention to impose a 10% on aluminium imports as part of a Section 232 investigation.
The Beer Institute, a Washington-based trade group, said that an across-the-board tariff would increase the cost of aluminium and cost jobs in the beer industry and throughout the supply chain.
“This 10% tariff will create a new $347.7-million tax on America's beverage industry, including brewers and beer importers, and result in the loss of 20,291 American jobs,” Beer Institute president and CEO Jim McGreevy said in a statement, citing a third-party analysis.
"Imported aluminium used to make beer cans is not a threat to national security,” added McGreevy, who noted that the largest exporter of aluminium to the United States is Canada, which is a strong and stable American ally.
The organization encouraged the US Department of Commerce to exclude imported aluminium and can sheet used to make beer cans from the new tariff.
Beer maker Miller Coors also expressed disappointment with the tariff announcement.
“Like most brewers, we are selling an increasing amount of our beers in aluminium cans, and this action will cause aluminium prices to rise. It is likely to lead to job losses across the beer industry,” the company said in a statement on its Twitter feed.
“We buy as much domestic can sheet aluminium as is available, however, there simply isn’t enough supply to satisfy the demands of American beverage makers like us. American workers and American consumers will suffer as a result of this misguided tariff,” the statement said.
Prices for aluminium have surged in the US over the past several months as participants prepared for possible US protectionist measures that would increase costs and tighten supply.
US used beverage can aluminium scrap was assessed on Thursday March 1 at 74-76 cents per lb, which is about 9% higher than lows recorded in mid-December 2017.
Additionally, the Midwest P1020 climbed to 14-14.5 cents per lb delivered to the Midwest on February 27, up 50.8% since the start of the year.