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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The White House announced this morning a plan to levy a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese tech goods — with the exact list to be announced next month — as well as tech investment limits for Chinese nationals and entities. It also plans to pursue litigation at the World Trade Organization relating to Chinese intellectual property abuses.

The big picture: It’s a show of force that has surprised some sources close to the White House who believed Trump would defer any aggression towards China until after the North Korea summit.

  • A source close to the White House who has a keen understanding of the internal dynamics on China told me that this is an "initial move in a long negotiation that shows the Chinese Trump is very serious — and a move to balance the criticism that he was soft on ZTE.”

Another source close to the White House highlights these key takeaways:

  • This makes clear that investment restrictions, which were not vetted or ready at the time of the original announcement on tariffs, are part of the negotiating dance. In some ways, these are even more harmful to Chinese interests and a bigger deal in the negotiations than the tariffs.
  • The tariffs and the rest is what we already knew. What’s interesting is the timing. Trump is seeking to accelerate the negotiations even amidst the North Korea dance.

Worth noting: The White House statement provides timelines for announcing the final tariff list and investment restrictions, but it doesn’t give a hard timeline for their implementation. That gives Trump the flexibility to keep negotiating with the Chinese.

Go deeper: U.S. panics over China tech threat.

Go deeper

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.