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IBPA Works with AAP and Others on Section 301 Investigation & Proposed Tariff on Printed Books

Wednesday, June 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) members are advised that IBPA has joined with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and others to address the Section 301 Investigation into China’s Acts, Policies and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation. (See AAP's overview document here.)

As part of its participation, IBPA will submit written comments to the Administration describing how the proposed tariff on printed books, dictionaries, maps, etc. would adversely affect many of our members' businesses.

IBPA members interested in personally participating in the investigation should review the background below, making note of the following two deadlines:

  • June 10, 2019: Deadline to submit a request to testify at the Section 301 hearing to be held July 17, 2019 at the U.S. International Trade Commission's building in Washington DC. The request to appear must include a summary of testimony, and may be accompanied by a prehearing submission. Remarks at the hearing may be no longer than five minutes to allow for possible questions from the Section 301 Committee.
  • June 17, 2019: Deadline to submit written comments detailing how the tariff would adversely affect your business. See here and below for information on what the comments should specifically address. In addition, a book-industry-specific "comment template" has been prepared as an example to follow. Interested IBPA members can email to request the template no later than Friday, June 14, 2019.

IBPA members are invited to send questions and general feedback related to this initiative to IBPA CEO Angela Bole at


On Monday, May 13, 2019, the Administration announced a Public Notice & Comment process addressed to the Presidential directive to impose 25% duties on all remaining products coming from China (some $300 billion in Chinese goods). (This further escalation follows a reported setback in the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, with USTR stating that China “retreated from specific commitments made in previous rounds.”) These proceedings stem from the Section 301 investigation initiated by USTR in April 2017. In 2018, USTR determined that “the acts, policies, and practices of China under investigation are unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce.” (See Section 301 Investigation)

The Notice includes an Annex listing 3805 potential products (Harmonized Tariff Schedule-HTS headings) for inclusion in this further round of increased tariffs to be imposed on Chinese goods. The proposed product list excludes pharmaceuticals, certain pharmaceutical inputs, select medical goods, rare earth minerals, and critical minerals. Of note, printed books, including textbooks and children’s books are listed among the categories potentially to be taxed at the additional duty of 25%. Publishing-related HTS subheadings that could potentially be subject to the higher tariff rate are listed below. (See pp. 55-56 of the Notice Annex.)

Per the Notice, written comments are due on June 17th, with a hearing to be held on the same date. Stakeholders interested in participating in the hearing must file a request to appear and a summary of the expected testimony on June 10th. Post-rebuttal comments must be submitted within 7 days of the public hearing. The comments should address:

  1. The specific tariff subheadings (HTS) to be subject to increased duties, including whether the subheadings listed in the Annex should be retained or removed, or whether subheadings not currently on the list should be added. Comments should address specifically:
    • Whether imposing increased duties on a particular product would be practicable or effective to obtain the elimination of China’s acts, policies, and practices; and
    • Whether imposing additional duties on a particular product would cause disproportionate economic harm to U.S. interests, including small- or medium-size businesses and consumers.
  2. The level of the increase, if any, in the rate of duty;
  3. The appropriate aggregate level of trade to be covered by the additional duties.

HTS List of Potentially Covered (Book) Products:

  • 4901.10.00 Printed books, brochures, leaflets and similar printed matter in single sheets, whether or not folded
  • 4901.91.00 Printed dictionaries and encyclopedias and serial installments thereof
  • 4901.99.00 Printed books, brochures, leaflets and similar printed matter, other than in single sheets
  • 4903.00.00 Children's picture, drawing or coloring books
  • 4905.91.00 Maps and hydrographic or similar charts of all kinds, including atlases and topographical plans, printed in book form
  • 4910.00.60 Printed calendars, including calendar blocks, printed on paper or paperboard by other than a lithographic process
  • 4911.10.00 Printed trade advertising material, commercial catalogs and the like

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