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Opinion
Tim Culpan

Trump's Tariff Hammer Won't Hit China's IP Nail

New levies and restrictions won't add much to existing tools for protecting intellectual property, and may only escalate trade tensions.
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Photographer: Mark Lyons/Getty Imagesd

President Donald Trump is frustrated over trade imbalances and the theft of intellectual property by China. His proposed tariffs aren't likely to remedy the situation, and could make it worse. 

Trump on Thursday ordered tariffs on at least $50 billion in Chinese imports, with the proposed product list set to include items in aerospace, information and communication technology and machinery. Some people are talking about the pronouncement as if building a wall against the encroaching Chinese tide might be new or effective. Not so: The U.S. has been throwing obstacles in front of its largest trade rival for decades and has complained about intellectual property theft for just as long.