Coca-Cola Raising Prices, With Trump Tariffs Partly to Blame

Coca-Cola on Wednesday announced that it would raise prices on carbonated drinks, and CEO James Quincey has placed part of the blame on President Donald Trump’s trade war. During an earnings call that reported better-than-expected second quarter results, Quincey blamed “broad-based” cost increases for an impending price hike.

The impact of Coca-Cola’s wholesale price increases on retail soda prices will vary by retailer, a spokesperson told CNNMoney. But the price of a can of Coke at the checkout can be expected to rise at most stores.

Speaking to CNBC, Quincey said of the price hike: “That’s the freight, that’s the metals, the steel, the aluminum going up, the labor going up. So there is cost pressure, we’re having to pass that through into the marketplace.”

Quincey cited new tariffs as one cause of rising costs. “The tariffs on the metals, it’s one of many factors [that] caused us to go out in the middle of the year and announce the price increase, which is pretty unusual.” Most directly, Quincey was referring to a 10% tariff on aluminum imported from the E.U., Canada, and Mexico, enacted alongside a 25% tariff on steel imports.

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Trump has also imposed substantial tariffs on China, and retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other countries are having serious impacts on farmers and ranchers, including by hampering pork exports and driving down the price of U.S. soybeans.

However, there are also early signs that Trump’s aggressive tactics could still pay off in the long run. On Wednesday, Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pledged to work toward eliminating all tariffs on E.U.-U.S. trade in industrial goods, excluding automobiles.

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