A seven-day hearing on proposed tariffs that would include printed books concluded this past Tuesday, June 25. At the hearings, representatives from the publishing and bookselling industries, including the American Booksellers Association and the Association of American Publishers (AAP), testified before the Office of U.S. Trade Representatives (USTR) in opposition to the tariffs. Hundreds of witnesses provided testimony before the USTR and more than 2,000 comments were submitted prior to the hearings, according to Yahoo Finance.
More than 300 business representatives appeared at the hearings to argue against Washington D.C.’s proposed additional tariffs on Chinese imports, according to ECNS.com, which reported that the “overwhelming sentiment” was that the tariffs would significantly hurt U.S. businesses and their consumers.
The Trump administration has proposed imposing a 25 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of manufactured goods imported into the U.S., including books.
The administration says that the proposed tariffs are a supplemental action in response to China’s unfair trade practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, based on the findings in USTR’s investigation of China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, the USTR noted in a press release.
On Tuesday, June 18, ABA President Jamie Fiocco, owner of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and M. Luisa Simpson, vice president for global policy at AAP, were among those who testified in opposition to proposed tariffs on printed books from China. The hearing was held at the USTR’s offices in Washington, D.C. ABA and APP also submitted written testimony.
“It is crucial to understand that even the most successful of independent bookstores operate on the thinnest of margins,” Fiocco said in her testimony. “If prices increase due to an increase in tariffs, the negative impact on the fiscal health of the bookselling world, and on readers young and old, would be significant.” (See Fiocco’s testimony in full here.)
In her oral testimony, Simpson noted that the tariffs would have a “severe adverse economic impact on American publishers and partner businesses — including booksellers and schools — because there are no alternatives to printing these books in China,” as reported by Publishing Perspectives.
Also testifying on a panel alongside AAP’s Simpson and ABA’s Fiocco was Daniel Reynolds, Workman Publishing CEO; Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing; Craig Anderson, senior vice president of Publishers Clearing House; and Stan Jantz, president and CEO, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.