Businesses Worldwide Ask China to Reverse Course on Cyber Rules

By Brandon Ross

Aug. 11 — A global coalition of business interests is urging Chinese regulators to change proposed rules that would demand that insurers and other businesses maintain sensitive data servers in China, according to a letter obtained by Bloomberg BNA.

Signatories to the letter, addressed to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and dated Aug. 10, include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; insurance trade groups from the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland and elsewhere; the American Chamber of Commerce in China, as well as AmCham Japan, AmCham Korea and others; and computer industry groups such as BSA The Software Alliance.

“Our organizations, representing a broad array of industries and companies of all sizes, are writing to express our hope that China fully embraces the goals of the upcoming G20 Leaders Meeting to promote an ‘innovative, invigorated, interconnected, and inclusive world economy,’ by taking steps to address concerns regarding the direction of China’s information communications technology (ICT) policies,” the letter said.

The letter comes as the world’s leaders prepare to meet for the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China on Sept. 4-5. The businesses took issue with China’s draft Cybersecurity Law and pending insurance cybersecurity rules that are being overseen by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).

The letter said that the proposed requirements that would force businesses operating in the country to have local data stores would “impede economic growth, and create barriers to entry for both foreign and Chinese companies.”

The security reviews and requirements for ICT products and services may “weaken security and constitute technical barriers to trade as defined by the World Trade Organization,” the letter said.

Finally, the requirements for data retention and sharing as well as requirements for law enforcement assistance would “weaken technical security measures and expose citizens’ personal information to malicious actors,” the businesses interests said.

CIRC met with U.S. insurance officials in New York in late July (See previous story, 07/27/16).

Different Approach Requested

The groups signing the letter pledged to continue working with China on ways to meet the country’s social and economic goals through alternative measures.

“To that end, we urge both The Law and The Provisions be revised to encourage international policy models that will support China’s development as a global hub for technology and services,” the letter said.

The coalition acknowledged the challenges posed to Chinese officials on regulating new technologies, but said other governments were dealing with the similar issues.

“Our organizations look forward to supporting continued engagement with your government and private sector through this editing process on balancing digital trade and security, including at the upcoming G20 and B20 meetings,” the letter said. “Given the global nature of these issues and the interests of governments around the world in finding appropriate policies to address them, we hope such dialogues can lay the groundwork for global approaches that all can agree on, and show China to be a leader in resolving key global issues.”

The groups hailed the transparency of China in releasing the pending requirements while they’re still being drafted. But a different approach from the proposed data rules is needed to prevent driving a wedge between China’s economy and the rest of the world’s, they warned.

“The current drafts, if implemented, would weaken security and separate China from the global digital economy,” the letter said.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Heather Rothman at

For More Information

The full letter can be found here:

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