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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government announced Tuesday that it would implement a total of 38 different punishments for companies that engage in intellectual property theft, an issue that has long been a source of headaches in U.S.-China trade negotiations, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: IP theft by Chinese companies poses a threat to both national security and American companies' ability to turn profits, currently costing between $225 billion and $600 billion annually, according to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The Chinese government says violators would be restricted from receiving financial support from the government and designated in various databases, including a registry that could be accessed by foreign lenders.

What they're saying: In its press release, the Chinese government wrote, "The release of the memo, one of the most detailed documents on intellectual protection issued by China, signals a further step by China to strengthen IPR protection and shows China's sincerity in addressing American concern over the issue. It could be useful as part of the U.S.-China trade discussions, but this is not a direct reaction to pressure from the U.S."

Our thought bubble, via Axios contributor Bill Bishop: It sounds like for the responsible legal persons and managers of corporate entities, not individuals, these penalties could be significant if fully implemented. Questions remain whether the penalties also apply to platforms like those run by Alibaba and JD.com that have continuing issues with sales of counterfeit goods.

Worth noting: As recently as last month, the Chinese government has denied that IP theft even takes place. Much of Chinese companies' malign activities are also state-backed, raising the question of whether the government is serious about putting an end to a practice that they themselves engage in.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

25 mins ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.