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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A prominent Silicon Valley investor tells Axios that U.S.-China trade tensions are "the new Cold War."

Driving the news: In this Cold War, tech has evolved from a negotiating point (IP theft, forced transfer) into a cudgel (Huawei, rare earths, etc.). Trade tensions are also having a negative impact on startups, particularly in "hard tech" areas like AI, advanced manufacturing, IoT, machine learning, and networking.

Several venture capitalists tell Axios:

  • Chinese investment in American "hard tech" companies has all but dried up, and portfolio company CEOs are being told not to count on it changing when planning future fundraising.
  • Chinese companies are no longer viewed as viable acquirers due to concerns that the deals could be blocked by CFIUS.
  • Impacts are beginning to be felt on both supply chains, and cross-border VCs are having a tougher time creating mutually-beneficial partnerships between U.S. and Chinese portfolio companies.

What's new: For the first time, these venture capitalists are worried about accepting Chinese investors as limited partners. Not because such passive investments are currently illegal, or really even scrutinized, but because there's a belief that could flip in a hurry. If so, it would reduce the amount of future available capital and create massive complexities for existing investments.

The bottom line: The U.S.-China trade war seems to be spiraling out of control, with even the pretense of progress being dropped by both sides. And, if it continues, tech startups and investors in both countries will need to contend with guardrails that were inconceivable just one year ago.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.