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News & Press: IBPA Advocacy

IBPA Comments on Section 301 Investigation & Proposed Tariff on Printed Books (Updated Feb 18, 2020)

Tuesday, February 18, 2020   (0 Comments)
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This article was originally published on June 19, 2019. It has been periodically updated. Read the full report below.

(Manhattan Beach, CA - June 19, 2019) -- Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) members are advised that IBPA has submitted written comments to the Administration detailing how the proposed Chinese tariffs on books would adversely affect independent publishing business. (Read the orginial announcement here.)

Download IBPA's submitted comments here.

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

UPDATE: July 3, 2019

Tariffs on Books from China Suspended (via Publishers Weekly)

UPDATE: July 24, 2019

As previously reported, Trump and Xi agreed to resume trade negotiations, meaning that the threat of 25% tariffs on the (remaining) $300 billion goods (under List 4) coming from China is currently on hold. This “pause” in the trade war escalation unfortunately does not mean that we are “off the hook.” Should the Administration again find China to be “walking back” from its commitments, Trump will likely call for the tariffs proposed under List 4 to be imposed. (Recall that List 4 was proposed, and List 3 implemented, in response to China’s Communist Party leadership not agreeing to the terms of the agreement brought home by its Foreign Ministry in May.)

Now that the Section 301 comment, hearings, and rebuttal comment process for List 4 has ended, the Administration is technically at a decision point. That is, should the negotiations between Trump and Xi again stall, Trump can pull the trigger and implement tariffs on List 4 products not removed from the final list. While there does not appear to be a defined negotiating period for the resumed trade negotiations, this pause allows us to continue advocacy with Congress and the Administration in an effort to solidify removal of printed books from List 4.

UPDATE: August 1, 2019

IBPA members may have already seen the breaking news headline from the NY Times, re. the President’s tweets expressing disappointment that China is not expeditiously buying the ag products it promised. As such, he notes that “a small additional Tariff of 10%” on the remaining goods imported from China will take effect on September 1, 2019. (Recall that the proposed tariff for the remaining $300 billion worth of goods – List 4 products, which includes books – was to be up to 25%.)

The tweets may have pre-empted USTR. Thus, if indeed a tariff of 10% will be imposed, USTR must issue a notice identifying the products to be included in the final list (List 4) to be subject to the tariff. Printed books under Chapter 49 could be removed from the final list (the submissions and testimony from the book industry, as well as lobbying efforts, perhaps having some effect). Unfortunately, at this point, there is no way of knowing whether books are on or off the list.

While the tweets of course give no indication as to timing (i.e., when the final list will be released), the list will likely be released mid-August given the September 1st threat.

UPDATE: August 14, 2019

USTR announced the next steps in the process of imposing additional 10% tariff on some $300 billion of Chinese imports, as well as the outcome. Proposed List 4 was divided into two lists, List 4A with effective date of September 1, 2019 (as announced) and List 4B with effective date of December 15, 2019. Click here.

In short, only Bibles and other religious books were excluded/removed from the list, though tariffs on children’s books and certain types of calendars were at least delayed to December 15, 2019.

List 4A (which is delayed until September 1, 2019, includes all printed books, except Bibles). List 4B (which is delayed until December 15, 2019, includes children’s books, printed calendars, and post cards). Click here

An exclusion process is to be announced, and IBPA will continue to work with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) to review that process when it happens.

UPDATE: September 6, 2019

The tariffs are in place and are being collected on all Chinese-made goods entering the U.S. after 12:01 AM, September 1, 2019. The rate went up to 15%. The current administration, having no more products from China to tariff, raised the announced rate of 10% to 15% on August 23, 2019 (when China announced more of its own tariffs on U.S. goods). The same 15% rate will hold for goods coming in on December 15, 2019. There is as yet no exclusion process announced.

UPDATE: December 16, 2019

New Round of Tariffs Suspended (via Publishers Weekly): With the Trump administration reaching what it calls a “phase one” trade agreement with China on Friday, Washington has suspended new tariffs that were scheduled to go into effect on December 15.

UPDATE: February 18, 2020

Tariffs On Most Books from China Now 7.5% (via Publishers Weekly): Tariffs on books manufactured in China continued to be slowly relaxed.

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