Cybersecurity

Trump administration weighs sanctions over Chinese hackers: report

The Trump administration is reportedly considering using an Obama-era executive order to slap new sanctions on Chinese entities using cyberattacks to steal U.S. intellectual property.

Bloomberg News reported Friday that administration officials are discussing using an executive order that authorizes U.S. officials to impose the sanctions on those taking part in "malicious cyber-enabled activities." U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is reportedly in support of the plan.

However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose department would implement the sanctions, opposes the move and has stopped the measure from moving forward, according to Bloomberg.

A spokesperson for Lighthizer declined to comment to Bloomberg, and a Treasury Department spokesperson did not return the outlet's request for comment. The Hill has reached out to the White House and Treasury Department for comment. 

The Trump administration has slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods over the past few months, escalating a trade war between the two countries. The U.S. government has citied national security in imposing the measures, alleging Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property.

President Trump most recently on Friday threatened to impose another $267 billion in tariffs on Chinese products, on top of $200 billion in tariffs he promised one day earlier.

If the U.S. adopted the new trade measures, it would mean the country will have placed tariffs on $517 billion worth of Chinese goods, the entire value of all Chinese imports into the United States.

Lawmakers and trade groups have both called on Trump to stop adding further tariffs, which have sparked retaliatory trade measures from Beijing.

The Trump administration has offered aid to farmers impacted by the retaliatory trade moves, which include tariffs on U.S. crops like soy beans.

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