Trump tariffs lead to price increases for Coca-Cola products

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Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said Wednesday that recent tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on imported steel and aluminum products have resulted in price increases.

Speaking during an analyst call following the release of the company's second quarter results, Quincey said recent price hikes on all of Coke's carbonated soft drinks were due in part to Trump's actions.

"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 price increase," the CEO later said during an interview on CNBC.

Quincey said changing prices in the middle of the year was a “relatively uncommon” move for the company and that the changing prices will now have to be passed down the marketplace.

It remains unclear how much more consumers will pay to enjoy a can of Coke, but a Coca-Cola’s spokesperson said pricing at the store level will be determined by retailers “who have discretion in what consumers are charged on the shelf.”

Steel and aluminium tariffs result in price increases for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola company’s products. (The Coca-Cola Company/TNS)

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Trump announced the tariffs earlier this year, as part of his promise to protect the American market from cheap imported products being dumped into the country from overseas. The tariffs target imports from the EU, Canada, and Mexico, among others.

State beverage industry officials said they fear the tariffs could have a negative impact on hiring, raise product prices, and pose long-term effects on businesses.

According to Quincey, “less trade and more tariffs will mean less economic growth in the end and that will affect [Coca-Cola].”

The company’s quarterly results were better than expected, with shares growing by $0.53 cents.

Recent rebranding efforts  by the company aimed at attracting new customers to its products bore fruit as relaunched Coca-Cola Zero Sugar continued its double digit rise in the quarter, while the company introduced its diet drinks to the overseas market, officials said.

“Clearly we are doing better with Diet Coke,” Quincey said. “We’re encouraged with our performance year-to-date as we continue our evolution as a consumer-centric, total beverage company.”

The tariffs were imposed on March 31.

Steel imports would face a 25 percent tariff while imported aluminium would have a 10 percent tariff.