China Complains Trump’s TikTok Ban Violates WTO Rules

A federal judge may have temporarily stopped the Trump Administration from unilaterally shutting down TikTok’s business in the US, but the Trump Administration’s battle with the company isn’t over yet, though Bloomberg reported a few days ago that the TikTok issue will likely take a back seat until after Election Day, leaving the company free to operate as normal – at least for now.

But as Trump’s trip to Walter Reed shakes up not just the campaign but the prospects for a stimulus deal and other items on the administration’s agenda, Beijing is asserting that Trump’s attempt to give China a taste of its own medicine – as some have described it – violates WTO rules.

Reuters reports that during a closed-door meeting at the WTO involving representatives from both China and the US, China’s representative complained that Trump’s heavy handed tactics violate WTO trade rules.

The fact that the White House hasn’t produced any evidence that TikTok has transmitted private data on American users to Beijing – a claim that’s central to the admin’s argument for banning the app on “national security” grounds – shows that the administration is in the wrong.

A representative for China said at the closed-door meeting on Friday that the measures “are clearly inconsistent with WTO rules, restrict cross-border trading services and violate the basic principles and objectives of the multilateral trading system,” a trade official familiar with the matter, who did not wish to be identified, said.

The official said the delegate described the U.S. failure to provide concrete evidence of the reasons for its measures a “clear abuse” of rules.

The US representative at the meeting pushed back.

In the same meeting, the United States defended its actions, saying they are intended to mitigate national security risks, the trade official said. The government has previously said data from American users is being accessed by the Chinese government.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative had no immediate comment. An official at the Chinese mission to the WTO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Chinese statement will not have any consequences on its own although China could launch an official legal complaint about it to the Geneva body.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean that China will pursue another action against the US via the WTO if Trump doesn’t drop his pursuit of TikTok, it’s certainly a possibility. And it wouldn’t be the first time China has manipulated the international trade body to Beijing’s advantage.

Author: Tyler Durden

Source: Zero Hedge: China Complains Trump’s TikTok Ban Violates WTO Rules

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