US canned food producers call for protection for domestic producers


A broad coalition of US-based canned food producers and US metal can makers is calling on the Biden administration and Congress to provide immediate protection from imports that unfairly undercut American steel can manufacturers, canned food companies and, ultimately, the consumer. 

In a press release, they said that without action by the federal government, each of these vital industries will continue to experience existential economic harm from imported products.

Three actions are required to strengthen U.S. food security and protect the essential metal packaging industry: 1) labelling foreign produced canned foods to empower American consumers to easily distinguish US produced canned foods from those packaged in other countries;  2) imposing section 232 tariffs on specific imported can components that are underselling American metal can manufacturers and; 3) placing higher section 301 duties on imported Chinese canned foods and metal can components entering the U.S. market at a much lower, subsidised cost.

In letters to the Biden administration and Congress, American canned food producers and steel can makers asked for more prominent labelling of imported canned foods. 

U.S. government import data show approximately 1.7 billion cans of food are imported into the United States, which equates to 10 percent of domestic can production. That is 1.7 billion food cans that are inadequately labeled and provide insufficient information on the origins of these foods. 

Preliminary survey data show the U.S. consumer overwhelmingly seeks to purchase American grown and packaged foods; therefore, it is imperative that the American consumer is able to easily identify the country that packed the canned products they are purchasing.

“U.S. canned food companies take great pride in producing and packaging food grown by American farmers for U.S. consumers,” said Thomas Hunter, co-president, McCall Farms, a canned food company based in Effingham, SC. 

“We stand with U.S.-based can manufacturers and canned food companies in support of a government requirement on imported canned food labelling to enable an educated consumer to make an informed decision about purchasing canned foods for their family.”

Separately, U.S. steel and aluminium can makers recently filed two requests with the Biden administration asking for protections against imported metal can components. 

Late last year, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), the national trade association of the U.S. metal can industry, asked the administration to impose 232 “derivative” tariffs on specific imported can components that were underselling American-based can manufacturers. 

Additionally, since China-produced canned foods and metal can components are entering the United States at a much lower cost, CMI last month requested U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai impose substantially higher Section 301 duties specifically on canned foods and metal can components entering the U.S. market from China.

Speaking on the 232 derivative tariffs, CMI Chairman Thomas Fischer said: “Metal can manufacturers support CMI’s request to the Biden administration and Congress to act immediately to protect our industry from imported can bodies and ends, which in many cases are dumped or subsidised by foreign governments.” 

Fischer, who is vice president of investor relations and corporate affairs at Crown Holdings, a Florida-based company that manufacturers metal beverage, food, and aerosol containers, went on to say, “The White House must issue a 232 presidential proclamation that precludes certain countries, like China and India, from underpricing U.S. produced metal cans in our domestic market and destroying our industry.”

CMI’s President Robert Budway said about the request for higher Section 301 duties on China-made products that “The U.S. metal can manufacturing industry takes great pride in producing the highest quality metal packaging for its customers. 

“However, our government’s trade and tariff policies have paradoxically enabled imported China-produced food and beverage can components, along with canned foods, to undercut our industry’s ability to compete. 

“Current Section 301 duties, which range from 7.5 percent to 25 percent, are inadequate to protect U.S. domestic can makers and canned food companies from subsidised and unfairly priced imports from China.”

Immediate action by the Biden administration and Congress on all three of these trade issues are necessary to protect the vital canned food processing and metal can manufacturing industry and tens of thousands of workers and their families in nearly every state.

Lost Password