Protest letter signed over proposed China insurance rules

More than two dozen international business groups, including the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, have signed a letter expressing concern about proposed Chinese regulations for the insurance sector that are seen as potentially discriminating against foreign tech companies.

Reports of the letter, which is addressed to the chairman of China’s insurance regulator, have appeared in the Wall Street Journal,  South China Morning Post  and such insurance industry journals as  Asia Insurance Review  in the last few days.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, the American Chamber of Commerce in China and various insurance industry organisations didn’t immediately reply to International Investment‘s requests for comment on Friday.

The letter is said to argue that cybersecurity rules China has said it is looking to implement could create problems with respect to its relationship with its trading partners, and thus represent a potential obstacle to international trade.

“China, like other WTO [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 says, according to several of the published reports.

The issue is expected to be raised at high-level talks next week in Beijing between Chinese and US officials. The WSJ quotes Erin Ennis, senior vice president of the US-China Business Council and one of the letter’s drafters, as saying: ““It’s not just something unique to insurance,” she said. “It is a challenge that is appearing now across multiple sectors.”

The draft insurance regulations are seen as coming at a time of rising trade and economic tensions between China and certain other countries, notably the US.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

Read more from Helen Burggraf

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