Trade war hits U.S. books in China

China has reportedly halted the publication of U.S. books amid a trade war between the two countries. 

Hundreds of American books have been held up by Chinese regulators since the trade war escalated this year, The New York Times reported. 

According to the Times, books on the list include Bob Woodward’s “Fear: Trump in the White House”; a translation of the 1973 book “Child of God” by Cormac McCarthy; “Asymmetry” by Lisa Halliday; “Marriage, a History” by Stephanie Coontz; “China and Japan” by Ezra Vogel; and a Chinese version of “Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics” by Michael J. Sandel. 

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The reasons for each individual book’s holdup are not clear, and some have speculated that Woodward’s book was not released due it its political content rather than the trade war, according to the newspaper. 

The Times, reported, however, that there is a near standstill of approvals for U.S. books, which could also cause publishers to shift focus away from American texts. 

“Publishing American books is now a risky business,” Andy Liu, an editor at a Beijing publishing company, told the Times. “It’s shaking the very premise of trying to introduce foreign books.”

China is a major global book market despite its reputation for censorship; as of 2015, China was the second largest global book market behind only the U.S., according to the International Publishers Association. 

This month, China and the U.S. reached a “Phase One” trade deal, which would see a lowering of tariffs from both sides. 

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