‘Bible tax’ debate shows Chinese goods’ significance

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/20 20:38:41

Many have been taking a close look at whether US tariffs imposed on Chinese goods will lead to a "Bible tax."

Proposed tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese products will affect Bibles and children's books predominantly printed in China, Bloomberg reported, citing company and trade group officials who testified on Tuesday, which was day two of a seven-day hearing on the proposed tariffs. Due to the unique paper and printing technology needed, China is a major producer of some printed materials to meet the demand of the US market. 

China holds trump cards in its hand amid the trade war because of its production capacity and advantage in the supply chain. As a country that relies on cost-effective Chinese goods to support the religious beliefs of most of its people, how can the US exclude made-in-China products and win the trade war with China?

Many have realized that cost-effective Chinese goods rein in inflation and benefit low-income US consumers, but less attention has been paid to the fact that made-in-China products are essential to support people's religious beliefs.   A debate on the "Bible tax" makes people aware of Chinese goods' significance in the spiritual world of US people. 

In the short run, countries outside China can hardly develop a production capacity that is large enough to meet the demand for Bibles in the US. The proposed US duties will likely drive up expenses for churches. Some observers said some religious organizations may no longer be able to afford Bibles. 

The US Commerce Department in May placed Huawei on its so-called Entity List, banning US companies from selling parts or software to Huawei without US government approval. Chinese technology companies have felt the pain of the trade war but we believe they can survive without US chips. However, can Christians in the US survive  without Bibles? The answer is probably not. Bibles can be found in many American households, schools, hotels and churches. The interesting thing is that the spiritual world of most American people is based on China's industrial capability. It seems it won't be easy for the US to cut its ties to China's supply chain by stirring up a trade war.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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