Today, President Trump announced that the United States will impose a 25% tariff on $50 billion of Chinese products imported into the United States. When the tariffs were initially announced in March as a result of a 301 investigation, they included specific items that are sometimes used by the brewing industry. As of now, those items have been removed.
After hearing from trade associations and other business groups, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) removed 515 items, including certain steel items that are used in making brewing equipment. They also added 284 new lines. USTR will start collecting tariffs on $34 billion of products on July 6, but there will be a comment period for the $16 billion of new items. The products on both lists are largely industrial and electronic goods.
China has already announced retaliatory tariffs on $34 billion worth of US goods, including agricultural products and automobiles, with plans to bring the full amount of the tariffs to $50 billion. Beer is not included in China’s retaliatory lists.
For most of 2018, the United States and China have been going back and forth on trade issues, sometimes threatening tariffs and sometimes suspending them. Items related to brewing are not included in these initial tariffs, but as negotiations between the U.S. and China continue, there is always a possibility that equipment used by the brewing industry could be affected. The Brewers Association will continue to work with the administration and Congress to mitigate the impact on small and independent craft brewers.