Two largest US Bible publishers say proposed China tariffs would lead to ‘Bible tax’

The parent company of the United States’s two largest manufacturers of Bibles say President Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods could lead to a noticeable price increase on the Christian holy text.

The president of HarperCollins’s Christian publishing division, which controls manufacturers Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, told Religion News Service that a $300 billion tariff on Chinese imports including books and other print publications led to a consequence that the Trump administration likely didn’t intend.

{mosads}“We believe the Administration was unaware of the potential negative impact these proposed tariffs would have on the publishing industry generally, and that it never intended to impose a ‘Bible Tax’ on consumers and religious organizations,” said Mark Schoenwald, according to RNS.

“However, if printed books, including Bibles are not removed from the fourth list of products from China to be subject to tariffs and the tariffs go into effect, publishers will reduce investment in their businesses, consumers and religious organizations will face higher prices, and churches, schools, ministries, and nonprofit organizations will have fewer resources to educate others and connect them with the Holy Bible,” he reportedly added.

Schoenwald and other publishers met this week with officials at the U.S. Trade Commission, where they made their case for Bibles and other religious books to be exempt from the tariffs. U.S. manufacturers, they argued, would not be able to keep up with demand or the low prices American consumers receive from Chinese suppliers.

“There will be significant damage to Bible accessibility if Bibles and books are not excluded from the tariffs,” said Stan Jantz, president of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, who spoke before the Trade Commission this week. “Some believe such a tariff would place a practical limitation on religious freedom.”

China’s Communist Party journal said this week that the country was prepared for a long trade war with the U.S. after negotiations over a possible agreement with the Trump administration evaporated in May.

“China will not be afraid of any threats or pressure the United States is making that may escalate economic and trade frictions. China has no choice, nor escape route, and will just have to fight it out till the end,” read the editorial in the journal Quishi.

“No one, no force should underestimate and belittle the steel will of the Chinese people and its strength and tenacity to fight a war,” the party reportedly continued.

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