U.S. Judge Laurel Beeler said at a hearing on Thursday that she is willing to temporarily halt the ban on WeChat issued by President Trump. She made this statement after receiving a request from WeChat users because the ban is too vague.
President Trump had issued an executive order banning WeChat in early August. This move led the majority of Chinese Americans to voluntarily set up the nonprofit WeChat Users Federation of America and plan to sue Trump. The U.S. government said in a document filed in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday that users who download WeChat for personal or business communications are not the target of Trump’s executive order. However, the WeChat ban is very complex because it will cripple American businesses in China.
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However, the US government stated in court that these WeChat users cannot challenge the president’s authority in national decision-making. The U.S. government stated in a document submitted to the San Francisco Federal Court: “It is not just because they cannot use their favorite applications that a group of social media users can replace the president’s subjective judgment with their own subjective judgment.”
A recent report shows that many major US companies, including Apple, have called for the Trump administration to end the ban on WeChat. According to the government, the ban aims to establish a “clean network” that excludes Chinese applications. Apparently, the government is banning WeChat not for any wrongdoing but for “lack of trust”.
THE U.S. NEEDS TO PROPERLY EXPLAIN THE EXECUTIVE ORDER ON WECHAT
Many American companies in China also seek an explanation for the executive order. They need specific details from the Ministry of Commerce. The business alliance hopes to narrow the scope of the ban. As a communication application with more than 1.2 billion users, WeChat’s status in China is self-evident. Its services cover everything from marketing and communication to e-commerce and payment.
In fact, most payments in China happens via mobile. The only viable option for American companies is WeChat. If these companies can not use WeChat, it means customers can not make payments. Of course, they will simply settle for a Chinese alternative to American companies. The U.S. ban is greatly hurting American companies. Interestingly, the ban does little or no harm to the Chinese company.
According to reports, this ban may harm Apple’s iPhone sales in the Chinese market. Tianfeng International analyst claims that among hardware products, Apple will be hit the most. At best, Apple’s sales will drop 3-6% and in the worst-case scenario, its sales could drop by 25-30%.