In a closed-door meeting, China accused the U.S. of breaking World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations with its bans of ByteDance apps TikTok and WeChat. According to The Economic Times, China argues that the bans “are clearly inconsistent with WTO rules, restrict cross-border trading services, and violate the basic principles and objectives of the multilateral trading system.”
The Trump Administration cited data security concerns when it ordered ByteDance to give up control of TikTok and WeChat in the US, claiming ByteDance was not equipped to keep Americans’ data secure from the Chinese government.
At the WTO, China argued that the US provided insufficient evidence to back up President Trump’s executive order, constituting “clear abuse” of WTO rules.
A U.S. delegate at the meeting said the decision was necessary to protect the nation’s national security interests. So far, neither country has publicly published its version of events.
China may decide to file an official complaint against the US with the WTO. If it were to win such a complaint, the WTO could authorize China to implement retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. China won a WTO case earlier this year, when the Geneva-based body ruled that $200 billion in US tariffs were illegal.
Litigation between ByteDance and Washington is ongoing. On Sept. 27, D.C. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols issued a preliminary injunction in favor of ByteDance, allowing TikTok and WeChat to remain on American app stores. A second lawsuit, filed by the non-profit “WeChat Users Alliance,” alleges that the ban on WeChat violates the First Amendment.
In the backdrop, Oracle is still finalizing a deal to manage TikTok operations in the US. As a part of the deal, Oracle will invest in TikTok and host American data domestically on its cloud.
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