NW businesses ponder impacts of proposed steel, aluminum tariff - KPTV - FOX 12

NW businesses ponder impacts of proposed steel, aluminum tariff

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Talk of tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in Washington, D.C. has business owners in the Northwest’s beer, cider and wine industry wondering how their bottom line may look if they are imposed.

At Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider in Portland, it is on their minds.

“We go through a full truckload of cans every two weeks or so,” owner Nat West said.

Right now, business is booming and they have plans in the works to expand to another bigger building about a mile and a half away.

But a proposed new tariff on imported aluminum, which he uses for cans, and steel, that holds the fermenting juice, could slow those plans.

The White House is proposing a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. President Trump cites unfair trade deals that have killed the U.S. steel industry and a declining middle class as the reason for the tariff.

“I did speak to some of our suppliers last week and they anticipated passing those costs right on,” West said.

He said he recently got a call from the company building several new tanks for their expansion saying they may need to renegotiate a signed purchase agreement. 

“They are saying that you know these increases in price means that they are going to have to increase the prices of the tanks,” West said. “So maybe instead of buying four tanks, I buy three tanks. So very real impact we are looking at.”

He and others in the industry are playing a waiting game to see what will actually happen.

“If the customers are willing to pay an extra 10 cents more for a six-pack of beer or whatever could be something we could cover, but someone is going to have to pay for this,” West said.

Other industries that use steel and aluminum in the Northwest say they are still crunching the numbers to see if they will be impacted.

The Craft Brew Alliance said they will be doing an analysis of the potential impact and were not ready to comment.

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