Korea raises concerns over China's cyber security measures in WTO meeting

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 13, 2017 - 11:34
  • Updated : Nov 13, 2017 - 11:34

South Korea has raised issues with China's strict cyber security regulations at a recent meeting of the World Trade Organization, citing concerns of potential trade secret infringement, a trade agency said Monday.

The Korean Agency for Technology and Standards said it has discussed 33 technical issues with representatives of 16 nations in the WTO's technical barriers to trade committee meeting held from Nov. 7-9 in Geneva.

The state agency under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said it raised specific trade concerns in regard to China's cyber security law, which took into effect in June. 

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in Sejong City. (Yonhap)

The law requires companies to store user data gathered or produced by "critical information infrastructure operators" within mainland China and to pass security reviews on their products.

"The definition of critical information infrastructure operators is too broad and ambiguous, so South Korea and other countries demanded China make clear the definition of the category and transparently implement the regulation," Jung Seok-jin, a senior KATS official, said. "Chinese officials have agreed that they won't require source codes and other important trade secrets when conducting safety inspection on products."

Global tech companies have expressed worries that the tight security law heightens the risk that the Chinese government could snoop on their user data and other secrets.

The WTO's TBT agreement aims to ensure that technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessment procedures are non-discriminatory and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade. (Yonhap)