China’s new cybersecurity proposals could complicate trade talks with the United States.
China has been releasing its proposals over the past few months, with some of the new rules and standards aiming to prevent or slow down the release of certain data from China. In addition, there would be stricter rules for securing equipment. If the proposals go through, American companies could be impacted, including tech manufacturers such as Cisco Systems, IBM, Juniper Networks and Dell Technologies, as well as financial services providers and the automotive sector.
U.S. businesses and trade groups have complained that some of the proposals are too vague and give Chinese officials too much leeway on enforcement. For example, one of the proposals centers on cybersecurity reviews that operators of “critical information infrastructure” would have to go through to secure network equipment that could have an impact on national security. However, the draft doesn’t specifically define “critical information infrastructure” operator.
The timing of the release of the proposals,which covers at least eight categories, is seen by experts as a way for China to prove to the United States that it has ways to punish American businesses as trade talks between the two countries continue.
“These are the tools in the arsenal that can be ready to be fired,” said Samm Sacks, a cybersecurity expert at the Washington-based think tank New America, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping announced that they will restart trade talks, with delegations set to meet this week. The cybersecurity proposals could definitely play a factor in the negotiations, especially since greater access for American companies is a top priority for the Trump administration.
“China’s resumption of regulatory efforts signals less willingness to bow to U.S. demands in hopes of [a trade] agreement,” said Paul Triolo, head of geo-technology at research firm Eurasia Group.