CHINA/USA - Publishers Plead: Do Not Impose ‘Bible Tax’

Arno Froese

Proposed tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods would include printed materials, which would especially affect Bibles and children’s books predominantly produced in China because of the unique paper, printing technology and skills needed, company and trade group officials testified during the second day of a seven-day hearing on the proposed duties.

A 25% tariff would make it difficult to continue printing some formats and raise prices, leading to a Bible shortage that would hurt the Christian bookseller market, as well as ministries, churches, nonprofits and other religious organizations that couldn’t afford them, said Mark Schoenwald, chief executive officer of Harper Collins Christian Publishing.

There also is no viable alternative to the U.S. children’s books printed in China because of the waterproof and nontoxic materials used in some cases, as well as China’s investment in recent decades in needed equipment, said Daniel Reynolds, CEO of Workman Publishing Co. in New York.

“If tariffs are imposed, there will be fewer books available to American kids,” he said.

Publishers try to use U.S. printers when possible, but capacity has become extremely constrained since the 1980s, said M. Luisa Simpson, vice president for global policy at the Association of American Publishers. Because of thin margins in the industry, higher prices would mean some books would be discontinued, publishers might have to scale back, and book stores, schools and libraries would be affected, she said.

-www.bloomberg.com, 18 June 2019

Arno's commentary

Communist China is the world’s largest Bible printer. It’s ironic when one reads Daniel Reynold’s statement: “If tariffs are imposed, there will be fewer books available to American kids.” Wow!

Here a report:

Nanjing Amity Printing Company is now the world’s largest Bible printer […] 49 million of Amity Printing’s total output of 69 million copies are slated for the domestic Chinese market, the company told China.org.cn.

So far, the Bibles have been sent to more than 70 countries and regions in nearly 80 different languages such as English, German, Spanish, French and many African languages. Amity also prints Bibles in eight different Chinese minority languages: Korean, Miao, Va, Dai, Yi, Lisu, Lagu and Jingpo; and another thing worth mentioning is that 1840 copies of the Braille Bible have been produced and marketed. The Bibles are distributed to more than 50,000 churches and meeting points through 65 distribution centers.

From January to May this year, around 4.5 million copies were printed, 2.5 million of which were exported overseas. The total turnover of the company reached 180 million yuan (US$26.35 million) in 2008, and the target for this year is 220 million yuan (US$32.20 million), a target which should be eminently attainable as orders are arriving in good number, the company said.

While we cannot confirm nor deny the figures presented in this report, one thing is crystal clear: the number of Christians in China has increased dramatically during the last few decades. That simply means the continuous fulfilment of Jesus’ words, “I will build my church.” God the Holy Spirit knows no borders, totally ignores cultural differences, political identities, languages, and races. In this case, He is using communist China to contribute toward the dissemination of the Christian’s authority: the Bible.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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