"China's electronic espionage efforts have been ongoing for so long, I fear that any diplomatic or trade response is too little, too late," said Bobby Kuzma, a systems engineer with Core Security. Sanctions would need to be "sufficiently painful" to be an effective deterrent.
To have actual impact, the sanctions would need to block individual companies from being allowed to work with American companies or compete in the market, Kurtz said, noting that may be too harsh as the first step. It's more likely the government would start gradually and increase the penalties over time.
The Washington Post did not provide any details about the actual package under discussion, but cited an official who said the targeted Chinese firms would be "large and multinational."
Whether or not the sanctions will be issued is still unknown, but a final decision is expected soon, the Washington Post reported, and cited unnamed administration officials who hinted it could happen "even within the next two weeks." The timing is sensitive as it could overlap with the first state visit by President Xi Jinping of China.
Even if the sanctions don't have any teeth, they will continue to shine a spotlight on China's activities, which is essential, Kurtz said. "There's too much IP at stake," he said.
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