Christian Book Publishers Urge Trump Not to Impose ‘Bible Tax’ With New Tariffs on China

Woman reading holy bible.

Book publishers are imploring President Donald Trump not to impose “a Bible tax.’’

Proposed tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods would include printed materials, which would especially affect Bibles and children’s books predominantly produced in China because of the unique paper, printing technology and skills needed, company and trade group officials testified during the second day of a seven-day hearing on the proposed duties Tuesday.

“We believe the administration was unaware of the potential negative impact these proposed tariffs would have on Bibles and that it never intended to impose ‘a Bible tax’ on consumers and religious organizations,” Mark Schoenwald, chief executive officer of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, told a panel of officials at the U.S. International Trade Commission.

A 25% tariff would make it difficult to continue printing some formats and raise prices, leading to a Bible shortage that would hurt the Christian bookseller market, as well as ministries, churches, nonprofits and other religious organizations that couldn’t afford them, Schoenwald said.

There also is no viable alternative to the U.S. children’s books printed in China because of the waterproof and nontoxic materials used in some cases, as well as China’s investment in recent decades in needed equipment, said Daniel Reynolds, CEO of Workman Publishing Co. in New York.

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SOURCE: Bloomberg, Mark Niquette