Campbell Soup, Fox Business host question Ross’s soup can defense of Trump tariffs

Campbell Soup Company did not agree with Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossTrump will delay steel tariffs for EU, others Once on chopping block, Trump's budget puts development finance in overdrive Countries scramble to win exemptions from steel tariffs MORE's soup can defense of steel tariffs on Friday.

Ross used Campbell Soup cans as props during interviews on CNBC and Fox Business to argue that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPoll: Both parties need to do more on drug prices Senate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump White House: Trump will delay steel tariffs for EU, six countries MORE's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum were "no big deal" and would have minimal impact on consumers.


"In a can of Campbell's Soup, there are about 2.6 pennies worth of steel. So if that goes up by 25 percent, that's about six-tenths of 1 cent on the price on a can of Campbell's soup," Ross explained to CNBC. "I just bought this can today at a 7-Eleven ... and it [was] priced at a $1.99. Who in the world is going to be too bothered?"

But a Campbell spokesperson said the tariffs "will result in higher prices" and impact company costs.

"Any new broad-based tariffs on imported tin plate steel — an insufficient amount of which is produced in the U.S. — will result in higher prices on one of the safest and more affordable parts of the food supply," Campbell told CNBC.

Ross also appeared on Fox Business to defend the president's decision, using the same Campbell Soup defense. There, anchor Stuart Varney used increased steel costs on building the Keystone Pipeline to press Ross on the tariffs.

"Your tariffs, the president’s tariffs, add $300 million to it. That’s huge," Varney said.

"Well, it is huge, but it’s a huge project. It’s a multibillion-dollar project," Ross replied. "And what they did, they bought a lot of their steel from India prior to the president putting in the ‘Buy America, build America’ thing, so what they were doing was profiteering off dumped steel."

"That’s something we’re not going to tolerate because it costs American jobs. Everybody talks about the price, but what about the jobs?” Ross asked.

"The other potential criticism is that you face retaliation from other countries," Varney noted. "And this morning, we had Sweden’s Electrolux, the biggest makers of appliances in Europe, they pulled or delayed a $250 million investment in Tennessee in the United States because of those steel tariffs. They say it would simply raise the cost of steel in America. They’ve delayed the project. Your answer?”

“Well, any time you get rid of dumped product, there will be a price increase," Ross explained. "The question is what does it amount to? Take a car. There’s about one ton of steel in a car, and if that goes up 25 percent from a 700-odd dollar base, that’s under a couple of hundred dollars, that’s around five-tenths of 1 percent of the price of a car. That’s no big deal."

"So the people are exaggerating it considerably, but you’ve got to look at the job creation and the impact on American employees," Ross added.

The president tweeted to his 48.4 million followers on Friday that "trade wars are good, and easy to win," which sent stocks tumbling for a second straight day.

“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win,” Trump tweeted.

The AFL-CIO and some Democrats embraced the move to institute tariffs, while many Republicans criticized it.