U.S. officials announced Wednesday that Bibles would be excluded from Chinese product categories to which 10% tariffs will apply from Sept. 1 and Dec. 15.

According to Reuters, other products were, due to their importance, also excluded from these categories, such as child safety seats, cranes used in ports and construction, shipping containers, and certain types of fish.

Last June, fear spread in the Christian book industry that these tariffs on Chinese goods could affect the availability of religious books, such as the Bible.

Although President Trump decided to postpone until Dec. 15 the $300 billion in Chinese tariffs he had announced in early August, printed materials were included in the lists of Chinese products to be taxed.

“Due to the unique paper, printing, and binding needs of Bible production there are simply no U.S. vendors that could produce any significant portion of the volume needed to meet the demands of the U.S. market,” Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, wrote in a commentary officially presented to the office of the U.S. Trade representative.

Most of the Bibles distributed in the United States are printed in China, the world’s largest publisher of Bibles, Christianity Today reported in 2014.

Sixty percent of imported religious goods come from China, according to Reuters, which claims that in the month of May alone, turnover for printed religious texts amounted to $97.7 million.

It is a strange contradiction that one of the states that most persecutes religious believers in the world is at the same time is the largest exporter of religious goods globally.

With this measure, the president once again positioned himself as protector of the believers of the United States and the world. 

In fact, the president, very committed to the protection of religious freedom, received a Falun Gong practitioner in the Oval Hall last July as part of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom meeting held at the White House, July 16-18.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a spiritual discipline of the Buddhist school persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999, and its main text, Zhuan Falun, is banned on Chinese territory.

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