Suspected Chinese hackers breached an influential trade group earlier this year as U.S.-China trade negotiations began to boil, according to a report by Reuters.

Why it matters: The targeted trade group, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), has aided Trump administration officials in organizing events at manufacturing plants across the country, promising to rebuild factory jobs in the U.S.

  • Between the lines: All countries, including the U.S., use espionage to better their negotiating position during trade talks.

The big picture: Reuters cites two anonymous sources who say hackers using Chinese hacking "tools and techniques" targeted NAM over the summer.

  • The attacks intensified around the time that NAM President Jay Timmons met with President Trump — just before official trade talks reconvened.
  • NAM spokeswoman Erin Streeter told Reuters that the group "identified suspicious activity relating to certain company systems and investigated the matter, adding that its network was now secure.

Go deeper: A hacker group of Chinese spies is stealing text messages

Go deeper

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A virtual school year will likely push retailers even closer to the brink.

Why it matters: Back-to-school season is the second-biggest revenue generating period for the retail sector, after the holidays. But retailers say typical shopping sprees will be smaller with students learning at home — another setback for their industry, which has seen a slew of store closures and bankruptcy filings since the pandemic hit.

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The pandemic hasn't hampered the health care industry

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

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Column / Harder Line

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Trump administration recently touted its approval of America’s first terminal on the West Coast to export liquefied natural gas. There’s just one problem: it probably won’t be built.

Why it matters: The project in southern Oregon faces political and business hurdles serious enough that those who are following it say it will be shelved. Its problems embody the struggles facing a once-promising sector that's now struggling under the weight of the pandemic and more.