Trump says ‘nonsense’ to Apple concerns that a WeChat ban could impact iPhone sales

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Apple was among more than a dozen U.S. companies warning the Trump administration of the serious implications of banning WeChat from their platforms. President Trump is seeking to ban the app on national security grounds, and at a press conference today he offered a “rebuttal” to Apple’s argument.During a press conference with reporters at the White House today, Trump was asked about the implications of the WeChat ban by Bloomberg correspondent Justin Sink. In his response, Trump doubled down on his national security concerns and said a simple “whatever” to Apple’s concerns:

Here is the transcript of the interaction:

Sink: There is a lot of alert among US companies about your order on WeChat. Apple, Ford, Disney, they are worried because it’s such an important communication and payment platform in China that if you ban American companies from working with them, they won’t be able to sell iPhones in China or in similar markets.

Asset: It doesn’t matter.

Sink: So you don’t mind…?

Asset: I must do what is good for the security of our country. We were very disappointed with China.

Trump signed an executive order last week to ban transactions between U.S. companies and the Chinese companies behind TikTok and WeChat. The order will take effect in September and Microsoft is working on the acquisition of TikTok in the United States.

Apple and companies such as Disney, Ford, Intel, Morgan Stanley, UPS and Walmart participated in an appeal with Trump administration officials this week, warning that the consequences of the ban could be “serious.” In Apple’s case, WeChat is everything for iPhone users in China, and the app ban from the Global App Store could be disastrous for iPhone sales in China.

One of the issues raised on the appeal is that the scope of the order is not at all clear. Does it only apply to the United States or to all transactions in the world, including China? In the latter case, it could be devastating for Apple. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo warned this week that it could cut the iPhone maker’s global sales by 30%.

The White House has yet to address the points raised during the call, and Trump’s comments today do not appear to provide further clarification.

Watch the interaction in the video below at 20 minutes and 49 seconds.

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