For years, American companies have had to give away their tech secrets to China in exchange for being allowed to do business there. This is one reason why the Chinese have managed to come so far so fast in terms of technological development.
Trump is seeking to bring all this to an end by using tariffs to both punish China and provide some incentives for the tech companies to build their products in the US, and not in China:
U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports and will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, two people who had discussed the issue with the Trump administration said on Tuesday.
A third source who had direct knowledge of the administration’s thinking said the tariffs, associated with a “Section 301” intellectual property investigation, under the 1974 U.S. Trade Act begun in August last year, could come “in the very near future.”
While the tariffs would be chiefly targeted at information technology, consumer electronics and telecoms, they could be much broader and the list could eventually run to 100 products, this person said.
Trump is targeting Chinese high technology companies to punish China for its investment policies that effectively force U.S. companies to give up their technology secrets in exchange for being allowed to operate in the country, as well as for other IP practices Washington considers unfair.
The Trump administration is also considering imposing investment restrictions on Chinese companies over and above the heightened national security restrictions, but details on these were not immediately known. A U.S. Treasury spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.