• Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over a symposium on cyberspace security and informatization.

Chinese President Xi Jinping presides over a symposium on cyberspace security and informatization. (Photo : Getty Images)

Several trade groups that are representing companies from Asia, Europe and the United States are calling on China to delay its cybersecurity law that will be effective on June 1. In their opinion, this cybersecurity law may discriminate against foreign businesses.

China's Cybersecurity Law was approved by the government November last year. This law will require agencies and enterprises to improve their defense when it comes to network intrusions. The law also enables the government to punish individuals and organizations who hack into China's critical infrastructure.

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What made the cybersecurity law controversial is the part where it states that the government requires foreign security software and equipment that are supplied to the Chinese government to be reviewed. The list of sectors affected by this includes information services, telecommunications, transportation, energy and finance.

This requirement rattled global tech companies, as the provisions were unclear about what specific companies should submit their technology for a security review. If a company is ordered to be reviewed, it is required to submit technology disclosure and encryption details of its product.

A letter from the trade groups stated: "Our concerns encompass enormously consequential issues for China's economy, its relations with economic and commercial partners, and the global economy."

This letter was signed by 54 trade groups across Asia, Europe and the United States.

Last December, the provisions of the cybersecurity law were softened due to criticism of trade groups, removing the requirement of companies to submit their "source code" in order to prove that their product is secure.

Some provisions, however, are still existing and are vaguely worded, enabling Chinese regulators to some extent to block products of a technology company in the country.

Now that the law has been approved, China's Internet regulator allayed concerns by saying that the provisions of the law are neutral and nondiscriminatory. The body hasn't yet made any comment on the letter created by the trade groups.