17 May 2017

Global trade groups appeal to Beijing to postpone cyber law

Global business groups have joined forces in an appeal to Chinese authorities to postpone enforcing a cybersecurity law they say violates Beijing's free-trade pledges.

Some 54 groups are making the appeal from countries including the United States, Japan and Britain and the campaign adds to growing concerns that Beijing is improperly limiting access to its markets for technology products, possibly to support its own fledgling suppliers. To make its point the group sent a letter to Chinese regulators and the ruling Communist Party's cybersecurity committee stating that the impending Cybersecurity Law might violate Beijing's trade commitments and make theft of information easier. They said it would limit use of foreign security technology and require data about Chinese citizens to be stored within the country.

'Deeply concerned'

 ‘We are deeply concerned that current and pending security-related rules will effectively erect trade barriers. China's current course risks compromising its legitimate security objectives (and may even weaken security) while burdening industry and undermining the foundation of China's relations with its commercial partners,’ read the letter.

Appeal

The groups appealed to Beijing to postpone enforcing the law until it can be made consistent with Chinese market-opening commitments and World Trade Organization rules. Restrictions on use of security technology in an earlier Chinese anti-terrorism law and rules for banks prompted a similar outcry from business groups that said they would prevent most use of foreign products.