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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump last night signed an executive order prohibiting transactions with eight Chinese apps, including Ant Group's Alipay, arguing they pose a national security threat.

Why it matters: This is the latest example of ratcheting up economic tensions with China, using private companies as pawns.

  • Yes, but: The EO doesn't become effective for 45 days, which is 30 days after Trump departs the White House. Plus, prior Trump EOs against TikTok and WeChat — largely on the same grounds — have been temporarily blocked the courts.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the situation says the White House seriously considered including TikTok in this new EO, despite the injunctions. But it didn't make the final cut (yet another win for David Urban).

  • The Trump administration hasn't been terribly successful in its China tech policies, at least based on stated objectives. But it has caused big headaches for Chinese tech companies, some of which also find themselves under novel scrutiny from their own government.
  • In quasi-related news, the New York Stock Exchange says it will delist three Chinese telecom companies in compliance with a different White House EO. NYSE last week said it would delist the companies, then reversed its decision on Monday before reversing it yet again this morning.

What they're saying: "The Chinese Communist Party’s mil-civ fusion strategy explicitly aims to either co-opt or, in cases, even coerce civilian enterprises into assisting with modernization and development of the People’s Liberation Army," a senior administration official told Axios.

  • "We don’t think necessarily that, you know, Americans’ sensitive information and data, either from companies or individuals, should be contributing to that cause."

The big unknown is what Biden will do with the existing EOs, plus the CFIUS order on TikTok. At the very least, their existence should push his administration to set its markers early.

Go deeper

Jan 21, 2021 - Technology

Tech companies worry about becoming targets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tech employees are on high alert about their own personal safety as their employers roll out policies to ban or limit the reach of far-right extremists angry over former President Donald Trump's defeat.

Why it matters: As tech companies impose aggressive policies after the Capitol riot, employees will be the target of vitriol from aggrieved people who think tech and the media are conspiring to silence Trump and conservatives more broadly.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

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