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White House tries to ease tech industry concerns over China tariffs, says report

Companies like Tesla have already been hit by the tariffs.

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The White House reportedly had a private meeting with tech industry representatives last week.

Daniel Terdiman/CNET

The Trump administration is trying to ease anxiety over the US trade war with China.

White House officials reassured representatives from the tech industry in a private meeting Thursday that President Donald Trump's tariffs will ultimately help their businesses, according to an Axios report.

This comes as industry leaders have reportedly expressed concerns over Trump's trade war with China, as some companies have already felt pressure from the increased tariffs. Tesla prices in China went up by $20,000 as China increased tariffs on electric cars by 40 percent in retaliation. Qualcomm's $44 billion proposal to buy out Dutch chipmaker NXP died as a casualty of the trade war. And products like Apple Watches, Fitbit trackers and Sonos speakers could be hit by the US tariffs as they're made in China.

Trump administration officials said during the meeting that tariffs can push China to change course on tech-related issues, such as the forced transfer of foreign intellectual property to Chinese companies, according to Axios' Tuesday report.

Other topics discussed during the meeting reportedly included the North American Free Trade Agreement being renegotiated, possible changes to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy's work on new technologies.

Officials from the Commerce Department, Treasury Department, National Economic Council, OSTP and US trade representatives, as well as staff for trade groups representing the tech and telecom industries, reportedly attended the meeting.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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