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Beer Institute Statement on Reuters Report that Brewers Continue to Face Artificially Inflated Prices Stemming from Section 232 Aluminum Tariffs


Earlier today, Reuters published a piece, “How U.S. aluminum recyclers reap dividends from tariffs.” The article provided analysis from HARBOR Aluminum detailing how America’s brewers, who are currently facing significant economic pressures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are paying millions of additional dollars for aluminum ostensibly because of tariffs even though less than 15% of the new tariff costs are going to the U.S. Treasury.

In response, Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, issued the following statement:

 “Two years after the implementation of aluminum tariffs, American brewers continue to pay an inflated tariff price on the aluminum they purchase – both domestic and imported. As our nation comes together to face this health and economic crisis, it is important we make sure bad actors are not taking advantage of the American beer industry and the 2.1 million American jobs it supports. We should all question how only 14 percent of the tariff paid is reaching the U.S. Treasury, and Canadian smelters are now receiving more tariff money than the U.S. government. We stand with the Aluminum Association is asking for a fair and independent government oversight of the industry.”

Specifically, HARBOR Aluminum’s analysis concluded:

  • Since aluminum tariffs went into effect in March 2018, the American beverage industry paid $582 million in 232 tariffs for aluminum cansheet, but the U.S. government only collected 14% of those funds.
  • Even though Canada was exempted from paying aluminum tariffs in May 2019, Canadian smelters charged $21 million in tariff premiums on the cansheet they produced, collecting more money than the U.S. Treasury and American smelters
  • U.S. cansheet contains more than 70% recycled domestic aluminum, which is exempted from 232 tariffs. However, the American beverage industry still pays a tariff premium on this metal.