Beer industry advocate slams Trump aluminum tariffs

Beer industry advocate Jim McGreevy is slamming the Trump administration's tariffs on aluminum, saying the retaliatory measures have hurt brewers and the industry as a whole.

“When you have 6,000 brewers and growing every year, to put those jobs and that industry at risk for the chance of bringing back some jobs, we just don’t see it as the right solution,” McGreevy told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton in an interview that aired Friday on “Rising.”

McGreevy is the president of The Beer Institute, which represents brewers, beer importers and industry suppliers across the country. He estimates that Trump’s tariffs have put at least 20,000 industry-dependent jobs in danger.

McGreevy called the tariffs, particularly on aluminum, a “solution in search of a problem,” and said that advocates would “love” to see them repealed.

“Aluminum tariffs were meant to bring back jobs that had left the country over the last 50 years for lots of reasons other than what’s happening in other parts of the world,” he said.

Last March, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems want tougher language on election security in defense bill Five aides to Van Drew resign ahead of his formal switch to GOP The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE announced that he was imposing a 25 percent tax on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. The European Union and China have since imposed countermeasures in response.

At the time, Trump claimed that trade deals had “destroyed” U.S. steel and aluminum companies and that the tariffs were necessary to protect American workers in those industries. But critics say they will raise prices for consumers and hurt other businesses.

McGreevy said the only ones paying the price are American brewers. According to a 2017 analysis by the Beer Institute, brewers spent $5 billion dollars on beer cans alone — half of which was spent on aluminum.

“There’s a lot of support for beer, but I don’t think people understand the market and commercial impacts of something like a 10 percent tariff on aluminum,” he told Hill.TV, referring to support brewers are getting from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

McGreevy said his group is now calling for more regulation and transparency on the pricing of aluminum.

“The aluminum market is a very opaque market, which needs in our view, a lot more transparency because the end users of aluminum are basically paying the bill and sometimes we don’t know what that bill entails,” he said.

Top Republicans have called on the Trump administration to reconsider its steel and aluminum tariffs. 

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley urges White House to help farmers in year-end tax talks The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday MORE (R-Iowa) on Wednesday said that the White House would need to lift all tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico before Congress considers Trump’s new trade deal.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, but it must first be approved by lawmakers in all three countries.

—Tess Bonn