U.S. President Donald Trump has just signed a new executive order blocking all deals with Byte Dance, The Verge, the parent company of TikTok, in an effort to “address the national emergency in the ICT supply chain,”media The Verge reported.
The move comes months after tensions escalated, with Us Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other White House officials warning that TikTok posed a threat to U.S. national security. Microsoft is currently in talks to acquire parts of the app, which is aimed at completing it by September 15.
Mr. Trump’s new order will take effect in 45 days, just after the September 15 deadline set by Microsoft’s sale negotiations.
In addition, another order would prohibit trading with WeChat, which maintains a limited user base in the United States.
In both orders, Mr. Trump authorized the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergency Act to effectively call TikTok’s continued operations in the United States a “national emergency.” Such a move would be highly unusual and likely to be challenged by law.
The Verge says the executive branch has the power to sanction individuals and companies by placing them on “entity lists,” as the U.S. did with China and ZTE last year. But such sanctions are usually imposed by the Commerce Department, not the White House, and go through a specific rule-making process, and the sudden executive order seems to have been circumvented.