Corporate America worries WeChat ban could be bad for business: WSJ

US companies whose fortunes are linked to China are pushing back against the Trump administration’s plans to restrict business transactions involving Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat app, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

More than a dozen major US companies raised concerns in a call with White House officials on Tuesday about the broad scope and impact of Trump’s executive order targeting WeChat, set to take effect late next month, the report added. The companies said action against the app could undermine their competitiveness in the world’s second-biggest economy, according to the report.

Apple Inc, Ford Motor Co, Walmart Inc and Walt Disney Co were among those participating in the call, the Journal reported citing people familiar with the situation. Other participants in the call included Procter & Gamble Co, Intel Corp, MetLife Inc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Morgan Stanley, United Parcel Service Inc, Merck & Co Inc and Cargill Inc.

The companies did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Tencent became the latest target in President Donald Trump's rapidly escalating tech war with China. On 7 August US president Trump issued executive orders that would ban WeChat and TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, from operating in the United States in 45 days if they are not sold by their parent companies. Trump had already said that he would ban TikTok if a deal for the app is not reached with an American company, but the inclusion of WeChat indicates that Washington is broadening its efforts to restrict some Chinese apps from operating in the United States.
The moves to ban TikTok and WeChat represent an "unprecedented intervention by the US government in the consumer technology sector," according to Paul Triolo, head of geotechnology at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.

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