SaveSave story

Trump's big trade battle with China kicks off Friday

President Trump will give a speech at the White House on Friday, and will sign a memo directing his trade representative to go after Chinese theft of intellectual property and the way U.S. companies are forced to share technology with Chinese firms, as Axios scooped yesterday. Administration officials say Trump is doing this because of complaints he's heard from Silicon Valley executives saying Chinese IP theft is one of their biggest challenges (Peter Thiel was involved in crafting this new step).

What happens next: About a week after Trump's announcement, the U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, is expected to announce that he's initiating an investigation into unfair Chinese trade practices — using a rarely-used tool, section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The investigation paves the path to the U.S. taking potentially aggressive retaliatory actions against China such as tariffs on Chinese imports or rescinding licenses for Chinese companies wanting to do business in the U.S.

Context: Chinese IP theft has long been an issue for some tech companies like Microsoft. It's also a major issue for agriculture and manufacturing - and any sector that has proprietary information related to their production practices. U.S. administrations and companies have been wary about publicly confronting the Chinese government, preferring to do things behind closed doors and in a more diplomatic approach.

Our thought bubble: Chinese IP theft has long been an issue for tech companies, particularly among software and semiconductor makers. At a minimum, going after China for these abuses can be something the tech community and Trump can agree on. But there are still big differences, particularly on immigration. For tech there is also risk of what actions China takes in response. They are both an important market for companies like Apple and the main manufacturing center for all sorts of tech hardware.

What's next: This is the opening salvo in several months of trade actions, and is expected to be followed by actions on steel and aluminum dumping — which could include tariffs and quotas — and subsequent measures to protect services.

Steve LeVine 8 hours ago
SaveSave story

Self-driving lab head urges freeze after "nightmare" fatality

Uber self-driving car in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen / Getty

Carmakers and technology companies should freeze their race to field autonomous vehicles because "clearly the technology is not where it needs to be," said Raj Rajkumar, head of Carnegie Mellon University's leading self-driving laboratory.

What he said: Speaking a few hours after a self-driven vehicle ran over and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, Rajkumar said, "This isn't like a bug with your phone. People can get killed. Companies need to take a deep breath. The technology is not there yet. We need to keep people in the loop."

Khorri Atkinson 2 hours ago
SaveSave story

Brother of Florida shooter arrested for trespassing at Stoneman Douglas High

Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the Florida schol school massacre. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett, Pool / Getty Images

Zachary Cruz, the brother of Nikolas Cruz who confessed to carrying out last month's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was arrested Monday after authorities say he trespassed on the site where the shooting took place, per the Miami Herald.

Situational awareness: The arrest comes just over a month after his brother shot and killed 14 students and 3 staff members to which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.