The European Union on Thursday sharply criticized China’s new cyber security rules, joining a global effort to challenge measures that U.S. and EU companies say could force them out of the Chinese market.
Calling them a “tremendous barrier” for foreign companies competing in the information technology sector, the European Commission said the rules proposed late last year went far beyond other security standards around the world.
“China continues to consider that only Chinese-developed information security technology is regarded as ‘safe’, and applies a concept of ‘national security’ far beyond normal international practice,” the Commission, the EU executive, said in its annual report on trade barriers.
China’s banking regulator has adopted new standards requiring tech products to be “secure and controllable” for use in the financial sector. Those that have not been developed in China must be registered with the government, putting at risk corporate secrets, secure emails and encrypted data.
The United States has led a global push to pressure Beijing to change course, the latest friction in a difficult trade relationship between the West and the world’s no. 2 economy.
“The EU is concerned by the lack of transparency in the development of these measures and by the potential impact on EU companies,” EU trade spokesman Daniel Rosario said.
U.S. President Barack Obama told Reuters this month he had raised the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and a senior U.S. trade official spoke again with Chinese officials during a visit to Beijing last week.