BEIJING, Sept 19 (Reuters) – European Union businesses are concerned about China’s data laws, including their “lack of clarity” and the “long processes” that companies have to undergo, European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova said on Tuesday.
In July, China expanded its counter-espionage law. It now bans the transfer of any information related to national security and interests, without defining those terms, while widening the definition of spying to include cyberattacks against state organs or critical infrastructure.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s increasing focus on national security – particularly a recent crackdown on consultancies and due diligence firms – has left many foreign firms unsure of where they might step over the line of the law.
“We will come back to the Chinese authorities with a proposal to create some kind of information link that will help EU businesses to understand the law and avoid possible lack of compliance,” Jourova told a news conference.
She was speaking after co-chairing the first EU-China High-level Digital Dialogue in three years on Monday.
China is a partner, competitor and systemic rival in areas including in the digital field, she said but added that systemic rivalry has become the most prominent of the three roles China plays in this area.
It is important China and Europe keep communication channels open in various degrees where there is disagreement, she said.
In late July, the Chinese commerce ministry briefed representatives from the U.S., European, Japanese and South Korean chambers of commerce, as well as 30 foreign firms, on the new anti-espionage law.
China is committed to creating a fair, transparent and predictable business environment, the ministry said at the time.
Reporting by Ryan Woo and Ella Cao; Editing by Edwina Gibbs
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