US lifts ban on TikTok, WeChat; Biden signs new orders to shield information

Washington DC: US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order revoking the Trump-era bans on Chinese application TikTok and WeChat and instead signed another executive order (EO) to protect US information technology and communications supply chains from threats that include those from China.

“Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order (E.O.) to further address the ongoing national emergency declared in E.O. 13873 of May 15, 2019 with respect to the threat posed to the United States’ information and communications technology and services (ICTS) supply chain,” the order read.

“President Biden revoked and replaced three E.O.s that aimed to prohibit transactions with TikTok, WeChat, and eight other communications and financial technology software applications; two of these E.O.s are subject to litigation,” it added.

The order takes the place of a series of EOs brought in by former President Trump in 2020, which blocked certain Chinese applications from US app stores and took further measures to prevent them from operating in the US.

The Biden administration earlier this week banned 59 Chinese military and surveillance firms from acquiring US investors or investments, expanding an original list of 44 Chinese companies targeted by Trump in a November executive order.

The White House on Tuesday had said it will fight any “unfair foreign competition” that hurts US supply chains, citing China as one of the risks it had to look out for.

Moreover, the US Senate on Tuesday voted to approve a USD 200 billion bill to boost US tech firms to compete against China, prompting an indignant response from Beijing for being cast as an “imaginary” US enemy.