Tinplate steel tariffs to harm American consumers and manufacturing jobs

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The Consumer Brands Association released two studies in partnership with Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC and The Juday Group demonstrating the adverse effects that would result from implementing proposed tariffs of up to 300% on tinplate steel imports. The tariffs would threaten nearly 40,000 union and non-union manufacturing jobs and increase the cost of canned foods and products by up to 30%.

The economic impact studies bolster Consumer Brands’ efforts to urge the Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission (ITC) to deny a petition submitted by steel conglomerate Cleveland-Cliffs to impose tariffs of up to 300% on imported tinplate steel from eight countries (Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, UK). Because tinplate is used in hundreds of canned goods – everything from soup to shaving cream – imposing the requested tariffs would raise production costs for US can manufacturers and trigger price hikes for every consumer, as supported by the research.

“Cleveland-Cliffs is abusing trade laws and attempting to artificially inflate prices to increase its profits at the expense of grocery shoppers,” said David Chavern, president and CEO of Consumer Brands.

“The Department of Commerce and ITC need to thoroughly review the facts of the case, including these two economic impact studies, and issue a decision that doesn’t prop up one company at the expense of an entire domestic industry and the consumers that rely on these essential products.”

According to the research conducted by The Juday Group, the proposed tariffs will increase the cost of canned foods and products by up to 58 cents per product.

The Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC research found that for every one steelmaking job that might be protected, 600 US manufacturing jobs will be put at risk. Meanwhile, the duties will lead to increased imports of empty cans and finished food products, increasing America’s reliance on China, Mexico and other countries. Import of canned foods from China already rose 19% from 2021 to 2022.

“Steel can manufacturing is an important industry that brings nutritious foods to every pantry or kitchen in America. If this can tax is imposed, it will not only harm our industry, it will also harm consumers, especially those who rely on affordable and accessible canned foods,” said Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute.

“What is intended as a tool to protect US manufacturers will have the exact opposite impact because can makers need access to certain steels not even made in the US.”

“If we continue down this path, we’re going to lose a vast number of hard workers in the manufacturing industry,” Chavern agreed.

“It’s a bad business decision and an utterly devastating threat to consumers – especially those who can least afford it.”

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