USA does not extend TikTok sale period, but continues to speak: Sources

The Trump administration decided on Friday not to give ByteDance a new extension of an order requiring the Chinese company to divest TikTok’s US assets. However, talks about the fate of the short video-sharing app continue, according to two sources.

A Treasury Department official said late Friday the US Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS) “is working with ByteDance to complete the divestiture and other steps to resolve national security risks.”

Last week, CFIUS granted TikTok parent ByteDance a week-long extension to Friday in order to lose TikTok’s U.S. assets.

President Donald Trump’s August order gave the Justice Department the power to enforce the divestiture decision after the deadline. However, it is unclear when or how the government might try to force the divestment.

Trump reportedly personally made the decision not to approve additional extensions at a meeting of senior U.S. officials, according to a person briefed on the meeting. The government had previously extended the original 90-day deadline, which was November 12, by 15 days and seven days on Trump’s behalf.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while the White House made no comments. TikTok declined to comment.

The Trump administration claims TikTok raises national security concerns as U.S. users’ personal information could be accessed by the Chinese government. TikTok, which has over 100 million U.S. users, denies the claim.

Under pressure from the US government, ByteDance has been in talks for months to enter into a contract with Walmart Inc and Oracle Corp to move TikTok’s US assets to a new entity that will fulfill the divestment mandate.

ByteDance has made a new proposal to address concerns of the US government, according to Reuters.

ByteDance made the proposal after announcing on November 10 that it had tabled four previous proposals, including one in November, that sought to address US concerns by “creating a new entity that can 100% owned by Oracle, Walmart and existing US investors in ByteDance is responsible for handling TikTok’s US user data and moderating content. “

In September, TikTok announced that Walmart and Oracle had signed a preliminary agreement to invest in a new company to oversee US operations. Trump said the deal had its “blessings”.

On November 11, ByteDance filed a petition in the US Court of Appeals against the disposal order, stating that it plans to move “to proceed with the enforcement of the disposal order only if the discussions reach an impasse and the government announces intent.” To take enforcement action. ” the order.”

ByteDance said the Trump deal “is to force the sale of TikTok, a billion dollar company based on technology developed by ByteDance based on the alleged national security clearance of a three-year-old government transaction Companies.”

The Trump administration has been hampered in its efforts to restrict TikTok in the United States.

A federal judge in Washington on Sept. 27 blocked a ban on Apple and Alphabet’s Google offering TikTok for download in U.S. app stores, while another judge on Oct. 30 blocked state restrictions that go into effect on Nov. 12 should. According to ByteDance, this would have effectively prohibited TikTok from operating in the United States.

A US appeals court will hear arguments about the app store ban on December 14th.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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