Trump’s steel tariffs could tap out lone US keg producer

President Donald Trump’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminum could have an unintended side effect for the last producer of kegs in America, according to its CEO.

“If these tariffs stick and there’s no help for us as a downstream business with imported or low-cost kegs coming in, we’ll be in deep trouble,” American Keg CEO Paul Czachor told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Friday.

Just days after Trump announced the tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum, the Pennsylvania-based company laid off about a third of its workforce and increased its prices by about $5 to $8 per keg. And already the company is beginning to see profit losses because of the tariffs, Czachor said.

“We have a lot of patriotic customers that want to buy American-made kegs,” he said. “But unfortunately, as the cost has been going up these past few months, we have to raise our sell price, and we’re starting to lose some business.”

Trump argued the action was intended to protect U.S. industries from unfair competition and to bolster national security, but his decision brought some harsh criticism from fellow Republicans and roiled financial markets amid fears of a potential trade war.

The tariffs are likely to keep driving up domestic metal prices, which have already been on the rise since the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2017. Czachor said his company may not be ready to compete with foreign entities importing the finished product into the U.S.

“But unfortunately, the imports that are coming in as finished good products, mainly Chinese kegs, there’s no tariff on it,” he said. “So our price differential between an imported keg and a domestically made keg is continuing to increase, which is something I don’t know where the customer’s breaking point is.”