Pallante noted that “a tariff on books is a tax on information, and at odds with longstanding US policy of not imposing tariffs on educational, scientific, and cultural materials.
In a decision handed down by the U.S. Trade Representative on August 13, 2019, Bibles and other religious books were not included on the first list of products imported from China that would be subjected to ten percent tariffs starting September 1. According to Shelf Awareness, an estimated twenty-five percent of books published by US publishers are printed in China, including the majority of children's books and Bibles.
Children’s book publishers received a reprieve on tariffs for picture books, drawing books, and coloring books. Tariffs on those books have been delayed until December 15. The delay in possible new tariffs until mid-December means most children’s books printed in China should be on American bookstore shelves for the holiday season before the tariffs would be imposed.
All other books printed in China, including trade, education, and professional titles, are still subject to ten percent tariffs beginning September 1.
AAP CEO Maria Pallante issued a statement, saying that the association was pleased with the administration’s decision on Bibles and children’s books, but disappointed that other categories of books still face a tariff that could be imposed in about two weeks.
Saying that the AAP remains “deeply concerned” that a wide range of other books remain on the tariff list, Pallante noted that “a tariff on books is a tax on information, and at odds with longstanding US policy of not imposing tariffs on educational, scientific, and cultural materials. Just as importantly these books are part of a vital economic engine that makes significant contributions to the US economy, and supports American publishers, authors, illustrators, editors, and designers, as well as distributors and booksellers.”
The AAP, according to Publishers Weekly, led the publishing industry’s bid to have books excluded from the tariffs when it organized a number of publishers to appear at public hearings conducted by the USTR in June held in conjunction with the administration’s original plan to impose twenty-five percent tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of goods imported from China. Trump suspended the implementation of those tariffs in early July when trade talks with China resumed, but when discussions stalled the administration came up with the ten percent proposal earlier in August, which will follow a first round of twenty-five percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods.