No New Tariffs for Now as U.S. and China Resume Trade Talks

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Threats of 25 percent tariffs on printed books have subsided for the time being as trade talks between the U.S. and China have resumed, according to media reports. In mid-June, representatives from the publishing and bookselling industries, including American Booksellers Association President Jamie Fiocco, owner of Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, testified before the Office of U.S. Trade Representatives (USTR) in opposition to the tariffs.

On June 29, President Trump declared that there was a trade truce between the U.S. and China after an 80-minute meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as reported by NPR. “Basically, we agreed today that we’re going to continue the negotiation,” Trump said. “We’re going to work with China on where we left off to see if we can make a deal.” As part of the negotiations, China has agreed to increase its purchases of U.S. agricultural products, NPR noted.

The Trump administration has proposed imposing a 25 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of manufactured goods imported into the U.S., including books, a list often referred to as “List 4.”

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.

But while the tariffs on printed books coming from China may be on hold, if negotiations break down, it is conceivable that the Trump Administration would once again call for the List 4 tariffs. In addition, the U.S. continues to impose a 25 percent tariff on approximately $250 billion worth of goods imported from China, NPR noted.