Brandon’s tariffs to drive up prices of canned goods, solar panels as “Bidenflation” intensifies
Tariffs are often touted as economic tools to protect domestic industries and address trade imbalances. But the recent plans of President Brandon’s administration to impose these on can-making metals imported from China, Germany and Canada will have potential ramifications for both international trade and everyday consumers.
While the decision intends to address concerns about trade practices, the effects are inevitably bad: higher prices of canned foods, job losses and business closures.
Among the three countries, China faces the most significant impact. Its imported products will be subject to the highest tariffs, amounting to a levy of 122.52 percent of their import value.
This tariff rate underscores the administration’s frustration with Chinese companies for not cooperating with investigations to demonstrate their independence from the Chinese Communist Party.
The Consumer Brands Association, a trade group representing major companies in the food industry, including household names like Campbell Soup and Fresh Del Monte Produce, has voiced concerns about the potential consequences of these new tariffs. Their estimation is striking: If the tariffs are aggressively enforced, the prices of canned foods could surge by up to 30 percent.
Canned foods offer convenience, longer shelf life and nutritional value. The implications of this tariff decision extend beyond the mere economics of trade; they touch the everyday lives of people who rely on affordable and accessible food options.
The implementation of tariffs on can-making metal imports has ignited debates over the effectiveness of such measures in achieving their intended goals. Tariffs have the potential to disrupt global supply chains, increase costs, and ultimately impact consumers’ wallets.
The Brandon administration’s move reflects a broader trend in global trade dynamics, where countries are reevaluating trade relationships, supply chain vulnerabilities and economic interdependencies. (Related: SUPPLY CHAIN SILLINESS: Brandon to slap 200% tariff on Russian aluminum to “commemorate” Ukraine invasion anniversary.)
However, the challenge lies in striking a balance between safeguarding domestic industries and ensuring that consumers have access to affordable products.
The tariffs could benefit domestic steel producers by increasing demand for their products, potentially leading to increased employment in the industry. However, the tariffs could also negatively impact can-making companies that rely on imported tinplate steel, leading to job losses and business closures.
It remains to be seen how the new tariffs will shape the future of can-making metal imports, the food industry, and the affordability of canned foods.
Tariffs on solar panels, too
Now comes the Commerce Department’s ruling that solar power panels manufacturers in four Southeast Asian countries are evading U.S. trade rules by using Chinese-sourced materials subject to tariffs without paying applicable duties.
The findings revealed that Chinese companies, including BYD, Trina Solar, Longi Green Energy and Canadian Solar, were utilizing minor processing in countries like Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to complete their products before exporting them to the U.S. market. This maneuver enabled them to avoid the tariffs levied on Chinese solar cells and panels.
Those countries – Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia – account for nearly three-quarters of solar modules imported to the United States. This means that new U.S. solar projects may soon be expensive as manufacturers will be subject to additional import duties on their products. Collection will begin in June next year.
As expected, solar industry advocacy groups were not happy. “The U.S. Department of Commerce is out of step with the administration’s clean energy goals, and we fundamentally disagree with their decisions,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, head of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “It will take at least three to five years to ramp up domestic solar manufacturing capacity and the global supply chain will be vital in the short term.”
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