EU trade chief warns China data laws could have 'unintended consequences'


The EU trade commissioner warned Tuesday that Chinese regulations governing the transfer of data out of the country, including a revised anti-espionage law, could have "unintended consequences".

Speaking at the end of a four-day trip to China, Valdis Dombrovskis told a press conference that he had "positive" engagements with local counterparts.

Asked by AFP if he had specifically discussed a recently revised law dramatically expanding China's definition of espionage, Dombrovskis said it had been raised in the context of discussions around "broader data transfers and data-related remarks".

"This may be an issue of systemic concern and it may affect all internationally active companies, not only European companies but also Chinese companies," he said.

"There may be unintended consequences."

"It's positive that we held this engagement now from Chinese authorities," he added.

China has recently implemented expansive new regulations covering cybersecurity, counterespionage and data management, citing the need to shore up national security.

But the new regulations have worried some foreign firms, unsure of how their enforcement will affect their business operations in the world's second-largest economy.

Dombrovskis reiterated this week European concerns over the laws, stressing they are of "great concern to our business community".

"Their ambiguity allows too much room for interpretation," he warned.



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