Octogenarian Billionaire With Campbell's Soup Can Peddles Trump's Steel Tariffs Plan

  • Octogenarian Billionaire With Campbell's Soup Can Peddles Trump's Steel Tariffs Plan

Octogenarian Billionaire With Campbell's Soup Can Peddles Trump's Steel Tariffs Plan

Wilbur Ross believes tariffs placed on steel and aluminum will have no major impact on your ability to purchase chicken soup.

During a CNBC interview on Friday, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross dismissed concerns that President Trump's plan to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel will raise prices for American consumers, arguing that a penny here and a dollar there "doesn't mean anything" to people.

Beyond his callousness about price increases that will have a tangible and negative impact on some Americans, Ross' comments don't account for the possibility of additional price increases caused the trade war that Trump's new tariffs are likely to spark.

"I just bought this can today at a 7-Eleven ... and the price was $1.99. So who in the world is going to be too bothered by 6/10 of a cent?" "So if that goes up by 25 percent, that's about six-tenths of 1 cent on the price on a can of Campbell's soup".

Thanks to President Trump's tariffs, a financially-troubled Campbell Soup Company will need to pay up to an additional $27.3 million to buy the imported steel that it cannot avoid given the limited capacity of US steel producers in order to deliver the same 440 million cans of soup to the market, which would be on top of the $114.4 million than it is now paying to do so at Ross's $0.026 per can cost point.

Ross was also asked about Electrolux, a Swedish company that is putting a planned $250 million investment in Tennessee on hold because of the tariffs.

"There's about 1 ton of steel in a vehicle", he said. 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 auto. "So it's no big deal".

Europe has threatened to retaliate with tariffs on everything from Harleys to Levis while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau labeled the move by the U.S. The European Union, Canada and Australia all denounced the new duties following Trump's announcement.

The spokesperson couldn't be immediately reached for a response about Ross' statement.

Ross - himself a billionaire who made his fortune buying up distressed assets in steel and coal - went on to say that "retaliation is not as simple as the people who are crying that the sky has fallen". Ross said. "Take a vehicle".

He added: "They will have trouble finding a substitute". "That's something we're not going to tolerate because it costs American jobs".