Trump’s tariffs proposal leaves U.S. keg factory owner ‘horrified’


Proletarians at the American Keg Company in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, believe Donald Trump’s expected tariffs on steel and aluminum could save their jobs. In actuality, the opposite is true.

It’s an example of the power of the U.S. president’s rhetoric in a region where individual cling to hope of a revitalized manufacturing sector, without always acquisitive the intricate and often confusing implications of global trade policy.

Final week, Trump said he would apply a new tariff of 25 per cent on implications of steel and 10 per cent on aluminum. Several countries threatened retaliatory avenues, including Canada, though it’s unclear whether the tariffs would make application to this country.

Zerick Hudson, 28, has worked at the American Keg Comrades since 2016. He has three sons, the youngest just two months old. He recollects the reason his employer is struggling: the kegs Hudson helps assemble are be suitable for from American steel. That already makes them various expensive than finished kegs imported from China.

Zerick Hudson

Zerick Hudson, 28, responsibilities steel discs into a compressor to make the base of a beer keg. He suggests the idea of tariffs gives him ‘hope.’

He reasons the tariffs would standardize things. «It kind of gives me hope,» he said. «It would be a better sequel for us.»

Glen McCauley agrees. The 58-year-old has been working at the American Keg Coterie for nine months after being unemployed for two years.

«I think it’s a gigantic idea,» he said. «I hope it makes us more competitive in the world superstore.»

Company owner ‘horrified’

The workers aren’t alone in getting it miscarry: shortly after the president announced his plan, Republican congressman Ryan Costello determined National Public Radio he thought tariffs would be good for the American Keg Crowd, which is in his district.

The company’s owner, Scott Bentley, says he had to comme il faut the congressman, who he describes as a friend.

Bentley says he’s «horrified» by the proposal, combining it could raise the cost of doing business to the point where it’s unsustainable.


Scott Bentley, proprietress of the American Keg Company, says he has invested $5 million in the company since 2016 and approximates he’s now losing $50,000-$100,000 a month. (Jean-François Benoît/CBC)

That’s because the schedule of charges would further drive up his cost to buy domestic steel, while Chinese barrels, which would not be covered by the tariff because they are already make up, would stay cheap.

«When a Chinese keg delivered to America payments only a little more than what we pay for just the steel, there indeed is no point in trying to compete on that basis,» says Bentley.

He’s already give up $50,000-$100,000 a month. He says 2018 will be a make-or-break year for the commerce.

Using U.S. steel to make beer kegs2:28

Heavy jobs losses foresight

The American Keg Company has just 20 employees, so it would be a relatively matter-of-fact casualty in any fallout from from the tariffs.

But it’s part of a much stouter network of steel-using companies — makers of cars and trucks, of construction components, of military armoury — that jut out to lose money and jobs should the tariffs be implemented, as the costs of making their upshots goes up and employers shed workers to offset those costs.


The U.S. is Canada’s grownest customer for steel. It’s unclear whether the tariff will apply to exports from this woods. (Peter Power/Reuters)

In a CNN report Wednesday, Mark Zandi, chief U.S. economist at Crusty’s Analytics, estimated that job losses because of the tariffs could range from 100,000 to 150,000.

A description published Monday by D.C.-based consulting firm The Trade Partnership lead one to believes that five jobs would be lost for every job gained.

Bentley imagines at least some of his workers would be among those on the losing end. «I peeve about the people here,» he says, his eyes filling with rushes.

Bentley — who runs other businesses in the area — bought the American Keg Throng in 2016. He says he didn’t expect to make much of a profit, but, given the flower craft beer industry and the expectation brewers would pay at least a elfin more for a domestic product, breaking even seemed possible.

The lone way that can happen now, he says, is if the U.S. government broadens the proposed tariffs to cover imports of finished kegs. But that’s a tough case to make for a little company without lobbyists or lawyers.

Bentley says his employees superiority not understand all the implications of Trump’s proposal. He fears they’ll come to perceive it the hard way.

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