Over the last year, the administration has rolled out a series of tariffs targeting steel and aluminum imports under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (a section targeting the importation of products deemed threatening to national security). After an extended period of exemption for many countries following the March 1, 2018 announcement, the Trump administration has ended the hold for Canada, Mexico, and the EU among others – resulting in increased prices for steel and aluminum and substantial retaliatory tariffs being announced.
The baking industry is impacted by these protectionist actions in two ways. Most significantly, retaliatory tariffs levied by the Mexican government specifically target many of the mixes used and exported by baking suppliers in the US. This threatens the economic wellbeing of not only the supplier but of American companies operating in Mexico that return goods across the border. The second impact is more direct. The baking industry – like many other manufacturing industries – relies on heavy machinery to bake the products Americans rely on to feed their families.
Tariffs on steel and aluminum, even if isolated, will still raise the price of the materials and the machines made from them. This, in combination with the section 301 tariffs separately levied against Chinese bakery ovens, will cause the price of new equipment to skyrocket – reducing the amount of money bakers have to expand and create new jobs and increasing the costs of traditionally cheap food staples.
A bill has been introduced that would require Congress to approve any tariffs levied under this national security section and will help stop the rising equipment costs that prevent our Bakers from expanding. Tell your Representative and Senator to CO-SPONSOR and VOTE YES on the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019!