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US' proposed China tariffs would target robotics and satellites

It wants to punish China for pushing companies to transfer technology.
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Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The US Trade Representative has published the list of Chinese products that would be subject to its proposed tech tariffs, and there are a few clear themes. The move would hike the costs of about 1,300 products, including industrial robots, communication satellites, spacecraft and a slew of semiconductors.The aim, as before, is to punish China for allegedly goading American companies into transferring their patents and technology to Chinese firms for the sake of claiming economic superiority.

The USTR claimed the proposed tariffs would stymie Chinese plans will "minimizing the impact" on the American economy. The tariffs are still subject to a 60-day notice process that would include public comments until May 11th and a public hearing on May 15th.

Whether or not it plays out as claimed is another matter. Although China does have laws requiring joint ventures for some foreign businesses operating in the country (and thus sharing ideas), this won't necessarily get officials to back off. There are concerns this will simply raise prices for American shoppers. And China has vowed to retaliate with "equal" measures if the tariffs go ahead -- it may be expensive for everyone involved, whether they're companies or customers.

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