Why tech secrets, not steel, could cause the real clash between the US and China

Steel and aluminum tariffs aren't the only explosive trade issue between the United States and China. The Trump administration opened an investigation into intellectual property theft by China in August. Officials have more recently signaled that an announcement on next steps is imminent.

China typically requires companies that want to enter the country to pair up with domestic firms in joint ventures. Such partnerships can give Chinese companies access to information that foreign companies would otherwise keep private. More than 80 percent of members of the US-China Business Council, a leading trade organization for American companies that do business in China, said they're concerned "about China's policies on data flows and technology security," according to a 2017 member survey.