Why Corporate America Hates Trump’s Tariffs Proposal


President Donald Trump has proposed tariffs on aluminum and steel that he says will put the country first. But a broad swath of corporate America strongly disagrees, saying the levies will boost prices on everything from cars to beer and force companies to cut jobs.

While the policy would hit the auto and aerospace industries hardest, it would also have ramifications for a wide range of businesses — and products that Americans purchase daily. Beer, soft drinks, candy, canned soup and even pharmaceuticals rely on aluminum for packaging. Electronics, such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone, also use the metals.

That’s led companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, General Motors Co. and Campbell Soup Co. to weigh in on Trump’s proposal, which would slap tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum for “a long period of time.”

Here’s What Equities Analysts Are Saying on Trump’s Tariffs:

Autos and Aerospace

The auto and aerospace industries will likely be hit hardest by the tariffs because they use so much metal. Toyota Motor Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. said the administration’s proposal will hike the price of vehicles sold in America.

“Despite the fact that Ford buys the vast majority of its steel and aluminum for U.S. production, this action could result in an increase in domestic commodity prices — harming the competitiveness of American manufacturers,” Christin Baker, a spokeswoman for Ford Motor Co., said in an email.

Honda Motor Co. said it “extensively” purchases steel and aluminum from U.S. suppliers, but warned the plan still carries risks.

“Imprudent tariffs imposed on imported steel and aluminum would raise prices on both domestic and imported products, thus causing an unnecessary financial burden on our customers,” the Japanese automaker said in an emailed statement.

Canned Goods

Sellers of consumer packaged goods may not use the same quantity of metals, but the levies would still have a big impact, according to industry leaders.

Campbell Soup warned that the taxes would raise price tags on items shoppers depend on: tin-plate steel cans. “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,” spokeswoman Nicky Thomson said in an email.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attempted to tamp down that idea on Friday. During an appearance on CNBC, he held up cans of soup and soda, saying that the increases would only amount to fractions of a penny.

Even so, beer companies — another key user of aluminum — urged the Trump Administration to quash the proposal. There simply isn’t enough domestic supply to provide for the needs of U.S. companies, MillerCoors said.

Demand for tin-plate steel was 2.1 million tons in 2016, while domestic supply was only 1.2 million tons, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute.

Frank Coleman, spokesman for the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., declined to weigh in on Trump’s proposal, calling it “premature to comment on any potential retaliation …read more

Source:: Fortune


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