President Joe Biden has canceled his predecessor Donald Trump’s ban on Chinese social media applications TikTok and WeChat and signed his own executive order (EO) to protect US information technology and communications supply chains from threats that include those from China, the White House announced on Wednesday.
“President Biden revoked and replaced three EOs that aimed to prohibit transactions with TikTok, WeChat, and eight other communications and financial technology software applications,” the White House said in a statement.
The White House explained that Biden’s order was intended to protect US information and communications from “a foreign adversary, including the People’s Republic of China, that may present an undue or unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and the American people.”
The ban on TikTok and WeChat were part of a long-running diplomatic and trade war waged with China by Trump during the better part of his four years in office.
While Biden has undone most of Trump’s executive orders on immigration, climate and other matters, he has left intact his predecessor’s tariffs against China, indicating he might use them to pressure Beijing into making concessions on trade and other issues.
Earlier this week, Biden 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.
On Tuesday, the White House 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.
Also on Tuesday, the Senate voted to overwhelmingly approve a $200 billion bill aimed at boosting US tech firms to compete against China, prompting an indignant response from Beijing for being cast as an “imaginary” US enemy.