Aluminum Tariffs Cost U.S. Beverage Industry $1.7 Billion

Nearly 4-1/2 years since the Section 232 tariffs on aluminum took effect, new resarch has found the U.S. beverage industry alone has paid more than $1.7 billion in tariffs. Brewers and beverage producers pay a higher price for aluminum because rolling mills and smelters include tariffs in their prices -- regardless of whether the metal is subject to Section 232 tariffs. Paying a tariff-laden price on all aluminum drives up the cost of doing business and makes consumer goods more expensive.

“From the grocery store to the gas pump, American families are feeling inflation pressure in every aspect of life. These new numbers show that Section 232 tariffs continue to raise production costs and drive up consumer prices,” said Beer Institute Director of Public Affairs Alex Davidson. “As the CEOs of some our nation’s largest beer suppliers recently said in a letter to President Biden, ‘tariffs reverberate throughout the supply chain, raising production costs for aluminum end-users and ultimately impacting consumer prices.’ It’s time for the Administration to provide Section 232 aluminum tariff relief.”

The research conducted on behalf of the Beer Institute by Harbor Aluminum, an independent authority on the aluminum industry and its markets, found that between the implementation of Section 232 aluminum tariffs on March 23, 2018, and Aug. 31, 2022, the U.S. beverage industry paid $1.714 billion in Section 232 tariffs on 8.203 million metric tons of aluminum. Of that amount, only $120 million (7 percent) went to the U.S. Treasury. Harbor Aluminum estimates U.S. rolling mills, U.S. smelters and Canadian smelters received $1.594 billion (93%) of the total by charging end-users – such as U.S. brewers – a tariff-burdened price regardless of whether the metal was meant to be tariffed based on its content or origin.

There are more than 13,300 permitted breweries in the United States, supporting more than 2 million American jobs. Imported primary aluminum and cansheet are critical to the U.S. beer industry as more than 74% of all beer produced in the United States is packaged in aluminum cans and bottles. In 2020, brewers bought more than 41 billion aluminum cans and bottles, making aluminum the single largest input cost in American beer manufacturing.

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