Packaging

Can Makers Miss Out on Trade War Benefits

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Sep 11, 2019

Food can manufacturers are suffering setbacks after a surge in domestic demand for their product due to the Trump administration’s trade wars failed to materialize, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Suppliers of cans, and the tinplate used to make them, anticipated a windfall after the government slapped a 25% duty on aluminum and steel imports in March 2018. The suppliers raised their prices to match the new, higher import price, and the two major producers of tinplate, U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal, invested in improvements in their production lines.

But a lower-than-expected vegetable crop is depressing demand for cans, and in May, the Trump administration exempted Canada and Mexico from the 25% tariff. Can makers, who now have a more assured source of tinplate from abroad, are therefore expected to pressure the tinplate producers to lower prices in the next round of contract talks, the Journal reports.