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How China Tariff Affects Americans' Bible Reading

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It may sound ironic that more than half of the world's Bibles are printed in China, where the Communist government has always drawn flak for persecution of religions such as Christianity and Buddhism.

This was brought to the attention of the world by Congressman Josh Harder in a letter he wrote to President Donald Trump, raising concern that the new import duties that he imposed on China would increase the cost of the Bible in the United States.

Additional 25 percent tariffs that the Trump administration levied on Chinese goods is also applicable to printed goods from China.

The Bibles printed in China are high in demand because of their unique paper quality and specialized printing processes involved.

"The recently proposed tariffs on an additional USD 300 billion in Chinese goods, including printed materials, could have significant negative effects on our religious groups, churches, schools, ministries, and nonprofit organisations," Rep. Harder said. He dubbed Trump's tariffs on printed good from China a "Bible tax".

The influential American Christian church community is a core support base for Trump.

Christian publishers and Bibles societies in the U.S. depend on the capacity and expertise of printers in China, from where Americans buy 20 million Bibles each year.

"I don't think the president planned to add an extra tax on Bibles, but that's the practical effect these tariffs would have, and that would make connecting with scripture more difficult for our Christian communities", said the Democrat lawmaker who represents California's Central Valley.

"We need all of these trade wars to end, but in the meantime, we can't allow our congregations to become collateral damage," he added.

"A Bible tax would mean fewer Bibles at much higher prices would be available to people who depend on the Bible for their daily spiritual nourishment," said Stan Jantz, president of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

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