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Aug
20

China could reportedly use its ‘unwritten’ tech rules as an ‘invisible tool’ against US firms

From: CNBC

  • With Sino-American trade tensions escalating, China’s cybersecurity standards could be used as an “invisible tool” for retaliating against Washington’s tariffs, according to one expert.
  • Such standards are government-issued operational guidelines that are technically voluntary, but are oftentimes treated as mandatory by foreign firms’ Chinese business partners.
  • If Asia’s largest economy were to weaponize the listing of standardized practices to hit American companies, the cost would be difficult to quantify, but the move’s effects on foreign firms could outlive current tensions, according a report from a Washington-based think tank.

With Sino-American trade tensions escalating, China’s cybersecurity standards could be used as an “invisible tool” of retaliation against Washington’s tariffs, according to one expert.

Those so-called standards are government-issued guidelines about things like firewalls and software that are technically voluntary, but are oftentimes treated as mandatory by foreign firms’ Chinese business partners. Over the past several years, Beijing has issued close to 300 new national standards, Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies said in a report earlier this month.

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