A new report from Reuters says Chinese hackers attacked the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) over the summer as the trade war between Washington and Beijing intensified.
Sources say NAM hired a cybersecurity firm to minimize the breach and prevent further intrusion from Chinese hackers.
NAM is considered an influential Washington-based industry group that has been very critical of China's abusive trade practices.
"For too long, China has reaped the rewards of unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft, exploiting loopholes in decades-old agreements," NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a 2018 statement.
It's obvious why Chinese hackers attacked NAM -- because they're are a leading voice in the trade war, but sources told Reuters that it's unclear what data was stolen.
NAM Spokeswoman Erin Streeter said, "we know we are a target for cyber-attacks. We identified suspicious activity relating to certain company systems and investigated the matter."
Streeter said the cybersecurity firm isolated the breach and has since made NAM networks secure.
Other sources told Reuters that the hack could've been Chinese hackers attempting to steal critical documents relating to a prior meeting between President Trump and Timmons.
President Trump spoke at a 2017 NAM conference, in which he said: "the era of economic surrender is over." Timmons called President Trump a "true champion" of U.S. manufacturing.
It should be obvious that the trade war is evolving to other forms of warfare, such as cyberwar.
It's only a matter of time before tensions explode again, and if President Trump doesn't get a Phase 1 trade deal, then what happens? More tariffs? An escalation of the trade war is likely.