State-sponsored cyber attacks against each other aimed at stealing trade secrets or other confidential business information has been vowed not to be conducted in an agreement between China and Canada with both the countries having signed the bilateral agreement.
The Globe and Mail reported on Monday that the deal was described as a step toward dealing with Chinese espionage by the Canadian government which is under pressure to show it is not being too soft on China.
“This is something that three or four years ago (Beijing) would not even have entertained in the conversation,” an unnamed official told the paper, which first reported the agreement.
In an effort to acquire sensitive foreign technology, Beijing has bene repeatedly accused of sponsoring hacking attacks on companies by some countries, including the United States. China says it is also a victim of hacking and it vehemently denies those accusations.
Hacking corporate secrets and proprietary technology are the only aspects that are covered under the new agreement between Canada and China as this agreement only caters to tackle economic cyber espionage.
Partly due to lessen dependence on exports to the United States, the liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to boost trade with China. Strict security-related restrictions on Canadian assets that China and other nations can buy is being pushed to be relaxed by Ottawa by China in return.
Canadian satellite communications firm Norsat International Inc. was recently allowed to be bought over by Hytera Communications Corp Ltd recently by Ottawa.
The deal should have been vetted more thoroughly, demanded Canada’s main opposition Conservative Party which has for long been suspicious about Chinese investment in sensitive sectors.
“These are steps the Liberals are doing to appease the Chinese government,” party leader Andrew Scheer told CTV television on Sunday.
The Canadian government said in a statement issued on June 22 that during talks between Trudeau’s national security and intelligence adviser and senior communist party official Wang Yongqing,, the new agreement was reached at.
There were no immediate comments from the representatives of Trudeau.
After the Obama administration had mulled targeted sanctions against Chinese individuals and companies for cyber attacks against U.S. commercial targets, China and the United States came to a similar understanding on corporate cyber espionage in 2015.
Breaches attributed to China-based groups had dropped around the time of that agreement, U.S. cyber security executives and government advisers said.
Even as many global tech companies and lobbies said the rules skewed the playing field against foreign firms, a new cyber security law designed to strengthen critical infrastructure was implemented by Chine this month.
(Adapted from Reuters)