President Trump has issued a ban on U.S. transactions with ByteDance, the Chinese owner of app TikTok, and Tencent, owner of WeChat.
David Shepardson and Alexandra Alper reported the news for Reuters:
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled sweeping bans on U.S. transactions with China’s ByteDance, owner of video-sharing app TikTok, and Tencent (0700.HK), operator of messenger app WeChat, in a major escalation of tensions with Beijing.
The executive orders, which go into effect in 45 days, come after the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks and called TikTok and WeChat “significant threats.”
The AP’s Tali Arbel wrote:
“This is an unprecedented use of presidential authority,” Eurasia Group analyst Paul Triolo said in an email. At a minimum, he said, the orders appear to “constitute a ban on the ability of U.S. app stores run by Apple and Google to include either mobile app after 45 days.”
Triolo said the orders may face legal challenges and warned that Beijing is likely to “react harshly, at least rhetorically.” Trump’s orders cited legal authority from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act.
Sherisse Pham from CNN noted:
A WeChat ban would be a blow to the Chinese diaspora, students and others in the United States who rely on the app to communicate with family, friends and business partners in China.
WeChat is the overseas version of Tencent’s widely popular Chinese messaging app Weixin. The app provides a range of services, including instant messaging and the ability to send money to other users.
According to the order, a ban would apply to “any transaction that is related to WeChat” made by any person or “any property” subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.