This past year saw proactive, determined efforts to protect our nation’s workforce, economy and consumers in an ever-changing landscape. We supported our member companies in navigating complicated regulations, as well as families and small businesses by helping them elevate their voices in policy discussions that affect their everyday lives.

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In Washington, D.C., the City Council withdrew legislation that would have imposed a new tax on beverages and ultimately put more burden on struggling small businesses and working families.

“Raising taxes on everyday grocery items threatens small businesses like mine—and the people who rely on them.”

David Gevru Elmire Grocery, Washington, D.C.

WV Against the Beverage tax coalition members spread their message—“Hands Off My Drink”—at West Virginia’s Jackson County Junior Fair.

More than 650 local Rhode Island businesses make up the Stop the Rhode Island Beverage Tax coalition, including Greg Parrillo of Santoro’s Pizza in North Providence.

“Tax on the wholesale price of snack drinks will trickle down to the consumer.”

The Providence Journal 5/13/21

Empowering Real People

Our industry remains unyielding in giving voice to small businesses and consumers who would be severely impacted by onerous beverage taxes and regulations. On the heels of the pandemic, tax advocates strategically sought support for state measures in Hawaii, Rhode Island, Washington state and West Virginia, along with Bethel, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. Our strong grassroots coalitions of local restaurants an retailers, business alliances and trade organizations worked together to defeat these tax threats.

In California, alongside community allies, we opposed a repeal of a ban on local grocery taxes. In East Los Angeles, we are working closely with consumers and independent small business owners—restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores—to boost their participation in local and state policy.

Alaska’s Bethel City Council rejected a beverage tax ordinance that would have disproportionally hurt working families and small businesses already struggling from the effects of the pandemic.

ABA President and CEO Katherine Lugar joined President Biden and others at the White House for the signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Improving Infrastructure

Investing in our country’s recycling infrastructure makes real economic and environmental sense. We established and led a broad coalition that successfully advocated for recycling provisions in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This bipartisan bill includes grants totaling $275 million for desperately needed improvements in municipal recycling programs and $75 million for necessary public education on proper recycling. Provisions for a pilot program of the DRIVE Safe Act also were included in the infrastructure package. This critical program will help address the commercial driver shortage and provide more well-paying jobs, all while ensuring safety is a top priority.

Encouraging Fair Labeling

Our long-standing, coordinated efforts on ingredient safety and labeling will benefit our customers and industry for years to come. After several years of litigation, San Francisco lawmakers agreed to repeal an ordinance that would have required a large warning message on certain advertisements for beverages with added sugar. In addition, a bill in the California Legislature requiring food that contains synthetic dyes to have a “safety warning” label was countered by strong science presented by ABA and our coalition. We’ve now secured certainty for beverage companies in their use of colors, sweeteners and preservatives domestically and abroad. And after engaging in discussions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ingredients such as low- and no-calorie sweeteners used in beverages will not be considered a bioengineered food for mandated disclosure.

Promoting Free Trade

We are continuing to engage with lawmakers on policies that ultimately affect American workers and households. We joined with other associations as part of the National Foreign Trade Council to support legislation that reasserts congressional authority over aluminum tariff decisions. A new transatlantic arrangement has eliminated tariffs on aluminum imported from European Union countries, with similar discussions expected for Japan and Great Britain. We also supported the reintroduction of the bipartisan Aluminum Pricing Examination (APEX) Act, which seeks to bring transparency and oversight to the aluminum pricing system and provide more stability for American companies.

Addressing Global Challenges

As the voice of the global beverage industry, the International Council of Beverages Associations (ICBA) continues to work with governments, other trading partners and allied stakeholders to preserve fair markets and oppose discriminatory regulations around the globe. From warning labels in Latin America to excessive taxes in Eastern Europe and the Middle East to ingredient challenges in Africa, ICBA is engaged in efforts to ensure a level playing field for our industry. We are also continuing to promote sound policymaking—the United Nations Committee on World Food Security has formally endorsed the first global voluntary guidelines on food systems and recognized the importance of private sector leadership in the shift toward healthy and sustainable food systems. This is a major victory with global repercussions.