US Department of Commerce Cancels TikTok, List of WeChat, Telecom News, ET Telecom Prohibited Transactions

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Commerce said Monday it was canceling a list of prohibited transactions with TikTok and WeChat released in September as the Trump administration sought to block new U.S. downloads of the two Chinese-owned apps.

The withdrawals came after President Joe Biden earlier this month withdrew a series of Trump-era executive orders to ban new downloads of Tencent-owned WeChat and TikTok, and ordered a Commerce Department review of the security issues posed by these and other applications.

Trump’s Commerce Department had also sought to ban other transactions that would have effectively banned the use of WeChat in the United States and then called for similar restrictions that would have banned the use of TikTok.

The ministry did not immediately comment.

The Biden order ordered the Commerce Department to monitor software applications such as TikTok that could affect US national security, as well as make recommendations within 120 days to protect US data acquired or accessed by companies. controlled by foreign adversaries.

WeChat, which has been downloaded at least 19 million times by US users, is widely used as a medium for services, games, and payments.

The US Department of Commerce may issue subpoenas to collect information about certain software applications for smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Then the agency could negotiate the terms of their use in the United States or ban the apps, according to people familiar with the matter.

Biden’s executive order revokes the WeChat and TikTok orders issued by Trump in August, as well as another in January that targeted eight other financial technology and communications software applications.

The January Trump order ordered officials to ban transactions with eight Chinese apps, including Ant Group’s Alipay and Tencent’s QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay. No ban has been issued to date.

The Trump administration had appealed court orders blocking the TikTok and WeChat bans, but after Biden took office in January, the US Department of Justice asked to stay the appeals.

A separate US National Security Review of TikTok, launched in late 2019, remains active.

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