Prices for Printing the Bible Could Rise Due to Tariffs on China

President Donald Trump’s newest proposed tariffs in his trade war with Chinese President Xi Jinping could result in a Bible shortage in the United States.

What We Know:

  • Trump and Jinping paused their long trade war this weekend so they could restart trade talks, a moratorium they agreed on at the G20 Osaka Summit in Japan that concluded last week. Trump agreed to not put new tariffs on Chinese goods, though the existing tariffs which cost the American household between $300 and $800 a year will remain.
  • Religious leaders and publishers have warned of the impact of the proposed new tariff’s as Trump re-enters negotiations; middle and low-income readers could be priced out of purchasing bibles should the 25 percent tariff be imposed on Chinese paper imports. Though this tariff would apply to all books, it would disproportionately affect Bibles and children’s books as these markets rely heavily on Chinese imports.
  • 75 percent of the cost of publishing a Bible is spent in China; the specialized printing market moved decades ago from the U.S. to China. Tens of millions of bibles are printed in china each year because China is able to produce the “unusually thin” paper and complex illustrations necessary for Bible publishing.
  • “We believe the administration is 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,” President of the largest Bible publishing company in the U.S. Mark Schoenwald said.
  • Publishers worry these tariffs will increase the price of Bibles in the U.S., making it difficult for low-income faithful people to “engage with their faith,” potentially creating a political infringement on religious freedom.
  • Trump has threatened 25 percent import taxes on $250 billion in Chinese products, which could increase to target another $300 billion of imports. Many doubt recent Trump’s continuation of trade-talks will stop this proposed tariff as Trump and Jinping have already failed to end the trade-war in eleven rounds of negotiations.

Proposed tariffs would practically cover all imported Chinese goods, which would have a significant effect on the U.S. economy.