The US Commerce Department announced on Monday that it was revoking a list of prohibited transactions with TikTok and WeChat that was released in September as part of the Trump administration’s effort to prevent fresh US downloads of the Chinese-owned applications.
President Joe Biden rescinded a series of Trump-era executive orders earlier this month that attempted to prohibit new downloads of Tencent-owned WeChat and TikTok, and requested a Commerce Department study of security concerns raised by those and other applications.
Under Trump’s administration, the Commerce Department attempted to prohibit additional transactions, essentially prohibiting WeChat’s usage in the United States, and later attempted to impose similar limits on TikTok’s use.
The Biden directive instructed the Commerce Department to keep an eye on software apps like TikTok that might compromise US national security and to provide suggestions within 120 days on how to secure US data obtained or accessible by foreign adversary-controlled firms.
WeChat, which has been downloaded 19 million times in the United States, is a popular platform for services, games, and payments.
Biden’s executive order revokes Trump’s August directives targeting WeChat and TikTok, as well as a January order targeting eight additional communications and financial technology software apps.
The January Trump directive instructed officials to prohibit transactions using eight Chinese applications, including Alipay from Ant Group, QQ Wallet from Tencent, and WeChat Pay from Tencent. To date, no bans have been imposed.
The Trump administration had challenged judge rulings halting the restrictions on TikTok and WeChat, but the US Justice Department sought to put the cases on hold when Biden took office in January.
TikTok is still the subject of a separate US national security assessment, which began in late 2019.