The US commerce secretary has said Donald Trump’s proposed trade tariffs are “no big deal” as they will only increase the cost of an average car by $175.
In an interview with CNBC, Wilbur Ross also used a tin of Campbell’s soup and a can of Budweiser to demonstrate how Trump’s plan to introduce a 25% import tax on steel and a 10% import tax on aluminum would have minimal impact on consumers.
Wilbur Ross brought props to @CNBC. pic.twitter.com/hN7yaNMctC
March 2, 2018
Republican members of Congress have criticized Trump’s tariffs, with the House speaker, Paul Ryan, saying the import taxes could have “unintended consequences”.
Ross told CNBC that there is “about 1 ton of steel in a car”, NBC’s Carl Quintanilla reported.
“The price of a ton of steel is $700 or so, so 25% on that would be one half of 1% price increase on the typical $35,000 car. So it’s no big deal,” Ross said.
Using Ross’s math, the increase would be $175.
Steel and aluminum tariffs trigger sharp stock market sell-off in US and Asia
To further illustrate his point Ross used a can of soup, a can of Budweiser and a can of Coca-Cola.
“This is a can of Campbell’s soup,” Ross said as he held up a can of Campbell’s soup to the camera. The soup appeared to be Chicken Noodle flavor.
“In the can of Campbell’s soup there’s about 2.6 cents, 2.6 pennies, worth of steel. So if that goes up by 25 that’s about six-tenths of one cent on the price of a can of Campbell’s soup.”
Ross said he had purchased the can on Friday morning at a 7/11 store. He said it cost $1.99.
“So who in the world is going to be too bothered by six-tenths of a cent?” Ross asked.
The commerce secretary then presented a can of Coca-Cola. He said it had three cents worth of aluminum in it.
“So if that goes up by 10% that’s three-tenths of a cent. I just paid $1.49 for this can of Coke. It doesn’t mean anything.”
Ross said “all this hysteria is a lot to do about nothing”.
Trump announced the tariffs during a meeting with US industry officials on Thursday. The New York Times reported that Trump’s plan came “against the wishes” of his trade advisers, including Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council.