INDIANAPOLIS -- President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum, along with more targeted tariffs against Chinese goods announced Thursday, could mean prices for goods in Indiana go up – including the price of beer.
Triton Brewery in Indianapolis sold 720,000 cans of beer last year. Those cans being made of aluminum, Triton co-founder Dave Waldman called the announcement of a 10-percent tariff on the metal a punch in the gut.
“This is a punch we didn’t see coming,” Waldman said. “We’ll be paying more for our cans. Everybody will be pay more for cans. The consumer will be paying more for the product that they will take home, which is unfortunate.”
Sun King Brewery filled 4.5 million aluminum cans last year. Because they move so much volume, the brewery purchases its aluminum cans far in advance. Owner Dave Colt said that means consumers likely won’t see a price increase because of the tariffs until next year.
At smaller Triton, brewers don’t have that luxury. That means the price hike will come sooner, rather than later.
“If you are buying $10 for a four-pack or six-pack, now you can expect to pay $11 or $12 for that same amount,” Waldman said.
Other Hoosier industries could soon be feeling the pinch as well after China responded Friday to tariffs on $60 billion in Chinese goods with their own tariffs on $3 billion in U.S. goods.
Along with aluminum and steel pipe – direct responses to the president’s tariffs – China’s Commerce Ministry has said it will place a 25-percent tariff on American pork, agricultural products, fruit and wine, according to Bloomberg.
The U.S.-China trade relationship has become particularly important to Indiana, where exports to the Asian country have nearly quadrupled over the past decade.
According to the U.S.-China Business Council, which promotes trade relationships between the two countries, Indiana’s exports of goods to China increased from approximately $800 million in 2006 to nearly $3 billion in 2016 – an increase of 282 percent. Services exported to China increased by a whopping 495 percent during that period – growing from $126 million in 2006 to $749 million in 2016.
The estimated $2.9 billion-worth of goods Indiana exported to China in 2016 made the country the state’s third most important international trading partner, behind Mexico at $5.2 billion and Canada at $11 billion.
Back in Indianapolis, both Triton and Sun King said they would be keeping a sharp eye on the international trade situation, as both President Trump and China indicated recent tariff announcements could be just the first of more to come.