San Francisco, US, Sep 26 (efe-epa).- A federal court in the United States will decide on Sunday whether President Donald Trump’s administration can go ahead with its ban on the video-sharing Chinese app TikTok.
The ban by the Commerce Department that restricts access to the app comes into effect on Sunday evening unless its Chinese owner ByteDance agrees under pressure from Trump to sell to its American partners Oracle and Walmart a stake in its operations in the US.
Judge Carl Nichols of the Washington DS district court set a hearing for 9.30 a.m. on Sunday to hear the government’s arguments and those of TikTok against the possible ban.
The verdict is expected a few hours after the hearing.
The Trump administration had until Friday to postpone a hypothetical ban to come into force by granting TikTok a new moratorium or present paperwork to the judge to justify their stance.
The documents by the Commerce Department in the court are confidential, the fact that Judge Nichols has called a hearing for Sunday implies that the government has decided not to grant TikTok the new moratorium.
The situation for TikTok in the US has become notably complicated in recent days compared to two weeks ago when the announcement that ByteDance was partnering with Oracle and Walmart to manage the application in the country seemed to indicate that the matter was close to being resolved.
Trump on Monday threatened not to approve the agreement reached between the American and Chinese parties if the US companies do not have “total control” over the resulting partnership, despite having previously given his “blessing.”
The Chinese owner filed for a preliminary injunction Wednesday to prevent Trump from enforcing the ban over national security concerns.
The problem stems from an executive order issued by Trump on Aug. 14, requiring TikTok to sell its business in the US or else, his administration would proceed to ban the app, considering that the Chinese company posed a threat to national security.
The White House had approved the “preliminary” agreement but the two parties later gave contradictory versions about whether ByteDance would continue to hold a majority stake in the new company for managing the TikTok business in the US.
According to Oracle and Walmart, which will control 20 percent of the future firm, the majority of the stake will be US-owned.
But ByteDance insists that they will control the remaining 80 percent until its IPO takes place with an initial public offering in about a year.
The version of the agreement offered by ByteDance would not satisfy the conditions of Trump’s executive order. EFE-EPA