US President Donald Trump signed executive orders according to which the US firms must stop doing business with TikTok and WeChat within 45 days.
President Trump said that he signed the orders to “protect our national security”.
He said that he has found “additional steps must be taken to deal with the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain”.
He added, “The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
He refers to both apps as a “threat”. According to the orders, unspecified “transactions” with the apps’ Chinese owners or their subsidiaries will be “prohibited”.
The order mentioned legal authority from the National Emergencies Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
The orders also mentioned that TikTok’s data collection could enable China to track US government employees and blackmail after collecting data. They also stated that the data can be used to conduct corporate espionage.
Mr. Trump said that the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration (which oversees US airport screening), and the US Armed Forces have already banned TikTok on government phones.
TikTok’s parent company ByteDance and WeChat’s owner company Tencent have not commented so far.
The move comes after Microsoft holds negotiations to purchase TikTok before a 15th September deadline given by M. Trump.
The executive orders against TikTok and WeChat are the latest measures taken by Mr. Trump as he continues campaign against China.
Analysts say that his orders are expected to be liable to legal challenges.