Date
20 October 2017
Visitors are shown at a booth of server products in China. Foreign business groups are concerned about regulations requiring insurance companies to store data on Chinese servers.  Photo: WSJ
Visitors are shown at a booth of server products in China. Foreign business groups are concerned about regulations requiring insurance companies to store data on Chinese servers. Photo: WSJ

Foreign groups slam Chinese insurance cyber curbs

US and international business groups have signed a draft letter of protest proposed Chinese regulations for the insurance sector that they say could result in discrimination against foreign technology companies.

The letter from more than two dozen companies has been sent to the chairman of China’s insurance regulator, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The group said the proposed regulation could create obstacles to China’s international trade.

“China, like other [World Trade Organization] members, has the right to implement measures necessary for the maintenance of cybersecurity, but we believe that the provisions go far beyond what is necessary,” the draft letter reads.

The groups plan to send the letter Wednesday.

US officials also are expected to raise the issue at next week’s US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, said Erin Ennis, senior vice president of the US-China Business Council and one of the letter’s drafters.

“It’s not just something unique to insurance,” she said.

“It is a challenge that is appearing now across multiple sectors.”

China’s leaders have made cybersecurity a priority and have adopted broad laws in the past year that require technology-gear vendors to submit to security tests, assist authorities with decryption and store data onshore

Individual sectors are expected to adopt variations of the rules. Last year, China’s banking regulator drafted rules requiring technology procurement from “secure and controllable” suppliers, but suspended the rules after international pressure.

The letter is signed by groups including the American Chamber of Commerce in China, the US-China Business Council, the Canada-China Business Council, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China, Digital Europe and the American Insurance Association, according to a person familiar with the plans.

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