A few hours before flying to Europe, Wednesday June 9, Joe Biden signed a decree canceling the ban on the platforms TikTok (sharing of short videos), WeChat (messaging, online payment …) and eight others applications. The measure was decided in 2020 by Donald Trump – and immediately suspended by the courts – on the grounds that these subsidiaries of the Chinese giants ByteDance and Tencent risked endangering national security. Accusations of espionage that these firms have always rejected.
This should not be seen as angelicism or relaxation in the face of Beijing, even if it has not taken up the idea cherished by its predecessor of ceding “TikTok USA” to an American company. Upon taking office, Mr. Biden recalled that China is a systemic adversary on values, trade and technology. He also gave the administration four months to assess whether these connected applications “May present an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and the American people”, explained the White House.
If Mr. Biden turns his back on Mr. Trump’s anti-climate policy, he unashamedly pursues the trade and technology war, the outcome of which will determine the dominant power in the 21st century.e century. He has taken steps to strengthen the country’s supply chains. And the decision concerning the TikTok and WeChat applications had been preceded the day before by the adoption of an important text.
With the support of elected Republicans, the Senate voted a plan of 190 billion dollars (156 billion euros) to support research and development (R&D) in cutting-edge sectors such as semiconductors (54 billion), artificial intelligence and quantum computing, where China has caught up with or even overtaken the leading economic power. Worried about America’s delay in these sensitive and strategic sectors, Mr. Biden welcomed a text that should allow America to “Maintain its position as the most innovative and productive nation in the world”.
In the name of an “America first” that he did not deny either, Mr. Biden also firmly holds the bar of the new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on China, and sometimes on Europe. It is not a question of weakening, but of strengthening the “Buy American Act”, which favors American companies competing in public contracts. Nor to give up taking back the hand left to China, and more broadly to Asia, on goods as essential as chips, active pharmaceutical ingredients, rare earths or automobile batteries. And a few days ago, the president extended the list of Chinese military-related companies in which Americans are prohibited from investing. Every day, Mr. Biden denies the nickname of “China Joe” that his adversary had stuck to him for his supposed complacency towards the Middle Kingdom.