Tue, May 16, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Groups appeal to China to stall cybersecurity law

BUILDING BARRIERS:Trade partners are concerned that Beijing might be weakening security, burdening industries and actually hurting relations with the law

AP, BEIJING

A coalition of 54 global business groups yesterday appealed to Chinese authorities to postpone enforcing a cybersecurity law they warned violates Beijing’s free-trade pledges and might harm information security.

The appeal by groups from the US, Japan, Britain and other countries adds to complaints Beijing is improperly limiting access to its markets for technology products, possibly to support its own fledgling suppliers.

In a letter to Chinese regulators and the Chinese Communist Party’s cybersecurity committee, the groups said the cybersecurity law, due to take effect on June 1, might violate Beijing’s trade commitments and make theft of information easier.

It would limit use of foreign security technology and require data about Chinese citizens to be stored within the country.

Signers included the Business Software Alliance, the US Chamber of Commerce and trade groups for insurers, technology suppliers and manufacturers from Britain, Japan, Australia, Mexico and South Korea.

Many of them were among 46 groups that made a similar appeal last year for changes in the cybersecurity law, which were not made.

“We are deeply concerned that current and pending security-related rules will effectively erect trade barriers,” the letter said. “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.”

The groups appealed to Beijing to postpone enforcing the law until it can be made consistent with Chinese market-opening commitments and WTO rules.

Chinese leaders say China needs the data controls to prevent terrorism and activity against the government.

However, officials of Chinese industry groups quoted in the state media have said previous restrictions on use of foreign security technology also were intended to shield the country’s fledgling providers from competition.

Trade groups have previously said planned Chinese data storage rules do nothing to improve security and create market barriers for foreign providers.

They say the requirement for foreign e-commerce and other companies to store data about Chinese customers within the country would add to the cost and difficulty of doing business by requiring them to set up duplicate storage operations.

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