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Boulevard Brewing among KC businesses adjusting to trade war

Posted at 5:02 PM, Aug 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 11:39:09-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Several major businesses in the Kansas City area are calling for the trade war to end.

The call comes two months after President Donald Trump placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. 

The Trump administration is putting tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union in an effort to crack down on alleged trade abuses. 

Local companies like Boulevard Brewing Company have yet to feel the full effects, but soon will. 

"The crowns that go on our bottles as well as our cans and the lids that go on the cans," said Justin Deardorff, Director of Supply Chain, Boulevard Brewing Company. 

Deardorff said most aluminum going into craft beer cans is from imported goods. 

"Only about 60-65% comes from within the U.S., so everything else would have a tariff placed on it," said Deardorff. 

While Boulevard has secured contracts through 2018, 2019 could look differently for them and their consumers. In September, the company will begin negotiating the costs of cans, lids and their beer bottle crowns. 

Along with the 10 percent tariff on aluminum, Deardorff said the Midwest premium has already increased 31 percent. 

"It's a component that goes into aluminum pricing, and really that's just a delivery fee and shortly after the tariffs were announced that had already gone up about 31 percent within just a few hours," said Deardorff. 

Union Pacific Railroad will also take a hit as they rely on steel imports tha now have a 25 percent tariff. 

"Nearly 40 percent of our shipments have an international component, coming from or heading to Canada, Mexico, Asia, Europe and beyond," said Lindsey Douglas, a spokeswoman for Union Pacific Railroad. 

Union Pacific said they support the President's efforts to level the playing field for American workers when it comes to trade, but are concerned. 

"Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous, it could damage the U.S. economy and could hurt many of the 14 million American workers whose jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico," said Douglas. 

Several businesses, including soy bean farmers, say they are concerned about the tariffs other countries could place on goods in the future in retaliation.