China says US TikTok, WeChat bans violate WTO guidelines

© Reuters. The US flag can be seen on a smartphone in front of the displayed Tik Tok and WeChat logos in this illustration

GENEVA (Reuters) – China said at a World Trade Organization meeting that United States' restrictions on Chinese mobile applications TikTok and WeChat are against the panel's rules, a trade official said.

The Trump administration has ordered download blocks for the two mobile apps and ordered ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, to sell its activities to a US company, citing national security concerns. However, US judges have questioned the government's case.

A Chinese representative said in camera at the meeting on Friday that the measures "are clearly inconsistent with WTO rules, restricting cross-border trade services and violating the fundamental principles and objectives of the multilateral trading system," according to one of the matters did not want to be identified said.

The official said the delegate described the US failure to provide concrete evidence of the reasons for its actions as a "clear abuse" of rules.

In the same session, the United States defended its actions, saying it should mitigate national security risks, the trade official said. The government previously said that the Chinese government is accessing data from American users.

The US sales representative's office had no immediate comment. An official from the Chinese mission to the WTO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Chinese statement will not in itself have any consequences, although China could file an official legal complaint with the Geneva authorities.

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