WSJ: ‘U.S. Threatens Ban if TikTok’s Chinese Owners Don’t Sell Stakes’

John D. McKinnon, reporting for The Wall Street Journal (News+ link):

The Biden administration is demanding that TikTok’s Chinese owners sell their stakes in the video-sharing app or face a possible U.S. ban of the app, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move represents a major shift in policy on the part of the administration, which has been under fire from some Republicans who say it hasn’t taken a tough enough stance to address the perceived security threat from TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or Cfius — a multiagency federal task force that oversees national security risks in cross-border investments — made the sale demand recently, the people said.

Trump was against TikTok too, but didn’t get this done. (And he tried, corruptly, to work a deal to hand TikTok over to Larry Ellison.) Banning TikTok or forcing the CCP to sell it makes sense both on national security grounds and as tit-for-tat trade policy. China effectively imposes an infinite tariff on U.S. social networks — none of them are available there. The U.S., to date, has imposed a 0 percent tariff on TikTok.

Wednesday, 15 March 2023