Beer CEOs to Biden: Can Trump’s aluminum tariffs

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The heads of four top beer breweries on Tuesday called on President Biden to slash tariffs on aluminum imports as a measure to fight inflation.

In a letter to Biden, Gavin Hattersley, president and CEO of the Molson Coors Beverage Company; Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser-Busch; Jim Sabia, president of the beer division of Constellation Brands; and Maggie Timoney, CEO of Heineken USA, praised the administration’s openness to combatting inflation by curbing tariffs, but warned aluminum tariffs are still increasing consumer prices.

“While our industry is more dynamic and competitive than ever, aluminum tariffs continue to burden breweries of all sizes,” the brewers wrote under the banner of the Beer Institute, the industry’s national trade association.

Hattersley currently serves as the chairman and acting president of the Beer Institute. 

“Eliminating the tariffs will alleviate pressure and allow us to continue our vital role as strong contributors to this nation’s economy,” added the executives.

According to a Peterson Institute study cited in the letter, the cumulative effect of cutting Trump-imposed tariffs on China could shave a percentage point off inflation in the United States.

While tariffs on Canadian and European aluminum have either been eliminated or reduced, U.S. tariffs on other sources of the metal are still significant enough to distort prices, the letter said.

According to the British Geological Survey, China produced more than half the world’s aluminum in 2018.

“We applaud your Administration’s efforts to negotiate lifting tariffs off individual countries. However, those efforts to provide economic relief to American consumers have no effect if end-users — such as U.S. brewers — are charged a tariff-burdened price regardless of whether the metal should be tariffed based on its content or origin,” wrote the brewers.

And the brewers added that the industry has paid more than $1.4 billion in aluminum tariffs since former President Trump imposed Section 232 tariffs in 2018.

“Just as concerning is that of the $1.4 billion ostensibly paid in tariffs, 92% did not go to the U.S. Treasury,” they added.

The brewers added that they consider tariffs a regressive tax that more heavily burdens the poor by raising consumer prices.

“These tariffs reverberate throughout the supply chain, raising production costs for aluminum end-users and ultimately impacting consumer prices,” the brewers wrote.

Tags aluminum tariffs Anheuser-Busch Beer Biden Constellation Brands Donald Trump Gavin Hattersley Heineken USA Joe Biden Molson Coors Beverage Company Trump
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