January 20, 2021

The Business Rules the Trump Administration Is Racing to Finish

Prohibiting Chinese apps and other products. Mr. Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications, including Alipay. It was the latest escalation of the president’s economic war with China. Details and the start of the ban will fall to Mr. Biden, who could decide not to follow through on the idea. Separately, the Trump administration has also banned the import of some cotton from the Xinjiang region, where China has detained vast numbers of people who are members of ethnic minorities and forced them to work in fields and factories. In another move, the administration prohibited several Chinese companies, including the chip maker SMIC and the drone maker DJI, from buying American products. The administration is weighing further restrictions on China in its final days, including adding Alibaba and Tencent to a list of companies with ties to the Chinese military, a designation that would prevent Americans from investing in those businesses. — Ana Swanson

Defining gig workers as contractors. The Labor Department on Wednesday released the final version of a rule that could classify millions of workers in industries like construction, cleaning and the gig economy as contractors rather than employees, another step toward endorsing the business practices of companies like Uber and Lyft. — Noam Scheiber

Trimming social media’s legal shield. The Trump administration recently filed a petition asking the Federal Communications Commission to narrow its interpretation of a powerful legal shield for social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. If the commission doesn’t act before Inauguration Day, the matter will land in the desk of whomever Mr. Biden picks to lead the agency. — David McCabe

Taking the tech giants to court. The Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust suit against Facebook in December, two months after the Justice Department sued Google. Mr. Biden’s appointees will have to decide how best to move forward with the cases. — David McCabe

Adding new cryptocurrency disclosure requirements. The Treasury Department late last month proposed new reporting requirements that it said were intended to prevent money laundering for certain cryptocurrency transactions. It gave only 15 days — over the holidays — for public comment. Lawmakers and digital currency enthusiasts wrote to the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, to protest and won a short extension. But opponents of the proposed rule say the process and substance are flawed, arguing that the requirement would hinder innovation, and are likely to challenge it in court. — Ephrat Livni

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/11/business/trump-business-regulations-biden.html

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