US publishers still fighting for exclusion from book tariffs

US publishers still fighting for exclusion from book tariffs

US publishers are still fighting to see books produced in China excluded from tariffs, even as a new tariff affecting books is expected to come into force on 15th December.

Publishers Weekly reported that, under US trade representative rules, an "exclusion process" begins a few months after tariffs are implemented on a group of products – meaning publishers whose books are affected have between 31st October and 31st January to request their books be excluded. 

If an exclusion is granted, the publisher would get a refund on the duties already paid. 

Key questions asked by the USTR when considering exclusions include why China is the only viable option for production and if the company is looking at options other than China, as well as whether the tariff causes severe economic harm, according to PW.

A result of the trade war between America and China, since 1st September all books being imported into the US produced in China have been hit by 15% tariffs. The situation has impacted UK illustrated publishers as well who publish into the American market but rely on Chinese printers. Affected UK publishers told The Bookseller last month that many were reviewing their print options but there is "limited capacity outside of China for everyone to switch and for it not to affect print prices".

Currently it is only children’s picture books, colouring books and drawing books (category 4903), that are excluded from the tariff that came into effect on 1st September; all others, even including educational titles, are subject to the tariff. 

The USTR has said it will respond to requests for exclusion “on a rolling basis”.