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Bibles Threatened by US Trade War with China, Christian Publishers Warn

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HarperCollins, Tyndale, and others warn Trump administration that 25-percent tariff hike will make God’s Word harder to get—and could cause some translations to be discontinued.

The next victim of the mounting trade war between the United States and China: God’s Word.

Although books have escaped earlier tariff hikes by the Trump administration, the latest proposed round—a 25-percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods—includes Bibles and Christian books.

In response, leading Christian publishers testified before the US International Trade Commission in Washington D.C. this week to ask for exemptions.

China is the world’s largest Bible publisher, thanks to Nanjing-based Amity Press which has printed almost 200 million Bibles since 1988 in partnership with the United Bible Societies.

For the world’s largest Christian publisher, HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP), more than three quarters of its production costs are incurred in China. Its portfolio includes bestselling authors such as Rick Warren, as well as the New International Version (NIV) and the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. The two popular translations give HCCP 38 percent of America’s Bible market, which sees about 20 million Bibles sold annually.

“We believe the Administration was unaware of the potential negative impact these proposed tariffs would have on the publishing industry, and never intended to impose a ‘Bible tax’ on consumers and religious organizations,” Doug Lockhart, HCCP’s senior vice president of marketing and Bible outreach, told CT by email.

In a hearing before the trade commission on Tuesday, CEO Mark Schoenwald argued the proposed tariffs will force HCCP to increase its prices, reduce its sales volume, and discontinue some Bible editions.

With more than 800,000 words that can extend to 2,000 thin pages, special bindings, maps, ribbons, and four-color …

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Source: Christianity Today Magazine

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