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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

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
48 mins ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

Ingenuity on the surface of Mars, filmed by NASA's Perseverance rover. Photo: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hovering the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.