As President Trump plans to slap new 25 percent tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, the Department of Commerce has taken a more sensible approach by blacklisting Chinese state-owned enterprises that illegally provided technology to the Chinese military.

Specific, targeted action is a great alternative to tariffs, and the president would be wise to let this inform his thinking as he prosecutes his trade agenda.

Trump is right when he accuses China of unfair trade practices, especially when it comes to technology transfers. When China's state-owned enterprises, companies under the authority of the Chinese Communist Party-controlled government, gain exported American technology, some of it ends up in the hands of the People's Liberation Army.

This means that U.S. technology is used or could be used against Taiwan or enforce Beijing’s police state in Xinjiang and elsewhere. That’s unacceptable and contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the U.S.

Last month, Beijing conducted a live fire military exercise on an area “roughly the size of Taiwan,” testing its military capability and doubling down on its aggressive approach to the self-governing island claimed by China.

In Xinjiang, members of the Uyghur Muslim minority have been forced into re-education campus complete with “thought reform,” nearly constant surveillance from a “social prevention and control system,” and monitoring made possible by facial recognition, iris scanners, and DNA collection. These manifestations of Chinese tyranny are often enabled by U.S. technology, such as microchips, filched by the Chinese government.

Underscoring concerns about how U.S. technology is being abused, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., recently wrote a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross explaining that Xinjiang was a “clear example of how the government is using technology, including U.S. made, to systematically crackdown on its people.”

Fixing this problem can start with the simple step of not giving U.S. technology to Chinese state-owned enterprises that are known to hand it over to their military bosses.

This is what the Department of Commerce is doing. They maintain an “Entity List” of companies prohibited from receiving American technology exports because they pose national security risks.

This week, the Department of Commerce added eight Chinese state-owned companies and their subsidiaries to that blacklist after the government “determined that there is reasonable cause to believe, based on specific facts, that all of these entities are involved in the illicit procurement of commodities and technologies for unauthorized military end-use in China.”

These companies include the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Second Academy, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, China Tech Hi Industry Import and Export Corporation, China Volant Industry, and Hebei Far East Communication System Engineering, among others.

That’s the right approach to combating China’s unfair acquisition and abusive use of U.S. technology, and protecting American interests and security. By targeting firms that hurt the U.S. and provide unauthorized technology to a foreign military, the government attacks the problem with a workable and reasonable solution.

Tariffs are blunt tools that clobber the U.S. economy and provoke retaliation while failing to apply direct pressure to prevent technology transfers to the bad guys.

Trump has used national security concerns to justify tariffs. That's how he has the authority to impose them without Congress. But harming our jet makers and auto makers while hurting American consumers does nothing to make us more secure, and does not make us great again. It just makes us poorer.

Trump's targeted sanctions are a precision weapon, aimed at a true problem. Now that he's using this weapon, he should stop using tariffs. They're not smart weapons.