The trade war President Donald Trump has waged against China could literally turn biblical.
If negotiations between Washington and Beijing falter, Trump has vowed to place tariffs on all of America's imports from China. Book publishers are warning that those tariffs will cause the price of printing the Bible to soar and potentially spark shortages.
The problem is that most US publishers print the Bible in China because of the high cost and complexity involved in printing a text with roughly 800,000 words. HarperCollins Christian Publishing, a leading Bible publisher, estimates that about three-quarters of its Bible manufacturing expenses are in China.
The proposed tariffs amount to "levying a 'Bible Tax' on consumers and religious and educational organizations," HarperCollins Christian Publishing CEO Mark Schoenwald wrote in a letter last month to Trump's top trade official.
The company owns Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, which it said are the two largest Christian book and Bible publishers in the United States. HarperCollins said that the 25% China tariffs would "seriously and disproportionately damage our business and our customers."
HarperCollins has requested that Bibles, testaments, prayer books and other religious should be removed from the list of products facing tariffs. News of the impact from tariffs was previously reported by the Associated Press.
The warning is another reminder of the unintended consequences of the trade war against China, which has already badly hurt American farmers, increased costs for US businesses and slowed the global economy.
next round of tariffs take effect, they would cover everything the United
States imports from China, including Apple's (AAPL) iPhones, Nike (NKE) sneakers, drones, televisions and
even L.O.L. Surprise dolls.