Looming Tariffs Cloud Printing Picture

With a public hearing set for June 17 on proposed 25% tariffs on $300 billion of goods—including books—imported from China, the publishing industry is gearing up to make its case to exclude books from the tax. The Association of American Publishers is taking the lead and has requested to make a statement at the hearing. It is working with publishers and other industry members to mitigate the impact of the tariffs as best they can. Lui Simpson, v-p, global policy at AAP, said that the group “will be working in every venue we can” to convey a multipart message.”

One aspect of AAP’s argument to exclude books is that not doing so would interfere with the free flow of information and knowledge, something that is baked into America’s ideals, Simpson said. “Books have social value and are crucial to the exchange of ideas,” she noted, adding that the tariffs could also interfere with religious rights in the U.S., since they apply to Bibles.

From an economic standpoint, Simpson said it is likely that the publishers impacted by the tariffs will pass on some of the costs to booksellers, schools, libraries, and nonprofits geared toward improving literacy. She added that increased book prices could damage the independent bookseller revival.

The ABA has also submitted a request to make a statement at the June 17 hearing. CEO Oren Teicher said ABA will work closely with the AAP to ensure that the book industry is “heard loudly and clearly on this matter.”

No one can put an exact dollar figure on the amount of books manufactured in China, but all agree that it is substantial; illustrated books and books that require handwork, for example, are almost all produced in China. Tyrrell Mahoney, president of Chronicle Books, estimated that about 90% of Chronicle’s books are manufactured in China. “It’s scary,” she said of the looming tariffs.
more at source: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/80392-looming-tariffs-cloud-printing-picture.html

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