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Trump administration exempts Bibles from China tariff list

Bibles made in China will not face the 10% tariff hike on Chinese goods. Christian publishers celebrate the decision.

SOURCES Christianity Today AUTHOR Evangelical Focus WASHINGTON D.C. 20 AUGUST 2019 17:00 h GMT+1
roughly 20 million Bibles are sold in the United States each year. . / Hannah Busing, Unsplash CC

The trade war between the United States and China has finally not affected the Bible.



The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) pulished two long lists of items: one of imports from China that will face additional tariffs of 10% on September 1, and one of imports whose proposed tariffs will now be delayed until December 15.



However, “certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security, and other factors”, the USTR said.



Although the US President Donald Trump recently announced that the printing of biblical copies in the Asian country, might be potentially subject to that additional 10 % tariff , Bibles and other religious literature are among the items removed from the tariff list” USTR confirmed to Christianity Today.



The tariffs will affect $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, especially technology, toys, clothing and clothing accessories.



 



“THE BIBLE SHOULD NEVER BE A SUBJECT OF THIS TAXATION”



“Whatever one thinks about trade policy, the Bible should never have been a subject of this sort of taxation”, Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told Baptist Press.



Meanwhile, Tyndale chairman and CEO Mark D. Taylor, said they “are pleased that we will not be facing tariffs on Bibles printed in China. Ironically, China is a major source of printing for English Bibles, and the favourable economics of printing there allow us to keep prices at a moderate level for sales throughout the rest of the world”.



“We are overjoyed and relieved to hear that Bibles will not be included in the initial list of items facing potential tariffs”, Roy Peterson, American Bible Society President and CEO, pointed out.



“Any hindrance to Bible access as a result of these tariffs could have severely impacted the ability of people worldwide to engage Scripture and exercise their religious freedom”, he added.



 



20 MILLION BIBLES SOLD IN US EACH YEAR



Mark Schoenwald, President of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, explained the USTR that “up to 75% of what it costs a publisher to make a Bible, with its complex illustrations and ultra-thin pages that make it portable, is spent in China and can't be handled elsewhere”.



The publishing company, which owns the two largest Bible publishers in the United States, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson, and controls 38% of the American Bible market, estimates that roughly 20 million Bibles are sold in the United States each year.


 

 


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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.