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Cablegate: China Not Yielding On Certification Scheme

VZCZCXRO7375
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #2909/01 2100636
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 280636Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8819
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 7028
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2035
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0756
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2269
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEAHLC/DHS WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 002909

State for EAP/CM JYamomoto, PSecor
State also for EB/CIP DGross, WWitteman
USTR for JMcHale, TWineland, TStratford
USDOC for ITA IKasoff
USDOC for ITA JEstrada
GENEVA PASS USTR

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECPS ETRD PREL EINV WTRO ECON CH
SUBJECT: CHINA NOT YIELDING ON CERTIFICATION SCHEME
FOR IT PRODUCTS

1. (SBU) Summary: In a July 18 meeting with the National
Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA),
United States Trade Representative (USTR) Chief Legal
Counsel Warren Maruyama, Assistant USTR Tim Stratford,
Deputy Assistant USTR Tim Wineland, USTR Director for
China and Taiwan David Katz, Department of Commerce
Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Asia Ira Kasoff,
Rebecca Karnak from Market Access and Compliance, and
Embassy officers raised United States concerns over
China's proposed unprecedented, mandatory
certification requirements for 13 categories of
information technology products. End Summary.

2. (SBU) USTR Chief Legal Counsel Maruyama summarized
USG and industry's concerns regarding China's August
2007 notifications of proposed regulations mandating
China Compulsory Certification requirements for 13
categories of information technology products,
emphasizing that China would be the only country in
the world to require certification of such products
for commercial use, as opposed to government
procurement for national security use.

3. (SBU) CNCA Chief Administrator Sun Dawei acknowledged
that he was aware of USG and industry concerns. He
pointed out that CNCA has participated in a series of
meetings and discussions regarding the notifications,
which he said are a way of managing the assurance of
product quality, and are the result of discussions
among various Chinese government agencies. One of
China's objectives, Sun indicated, was to establish a
single set of standards, one certification, and one
mark for the affected products. Sun also mentioned
that there is a workshop scheduled with industry on
July 30 to further discuss certifications and
information security.

4. (SBU) USTR's Maruyama explained that industry has
questions regarding the purpose of the notifications
and how they would be implemented, adding that the
products in question involved some of the United
States' largest technology companies and several
billion dollars in trade. United States industry's
concern, he said, is that the announcement of
implementing rules (originally scheduled to be
released in May 2008) would lead to high-level
politicization of this issue, in light of the serious
concerns of the USG and United States companies. The
USG core request is for CNCA to postpone any
announcement of the rules so that experts can discuss
the best way to regulate information security in a
manner consistent with international practice.

5. (SBU) Sun said that the assessment of information
security products is the responsibility of CNCA, and
that it believes a unified system of assessment would
reduce duplication in testing. He emphasized that the
promulgation of the certification requirements was the
result of coordination among several Chinese
government agencies, and that consultations with
industry has caused them to postpone the original
announcement of implementing rules.

6. (SBU) USTR's Maruyama expressed his appreciation for
CNCA's willingness to hold discussions with industry
and the United States Government. He said that in an
effort to strike a balance between security and
innovation, the United States normally favors the
innovation side of the equation. A wrong policy might
lead China to greater isolation, as in Japan after its
government pursued policies to pick national champions
and domestic standards.

7. (SBU) When asked by Murayama whether there would be a
new date for the promulgation of the rules, Sun

BEIJING 00002909 002 OF 002


answered that there was no change and no new date. He
expressed his hope that the industry participants at
the July 30 workshop will take the opportunity
seriously, adding that China's current policy is in
line with international practices. Sun added that
CNCA cannot indefinitely continue to discuss the
proposed rules, and that industry should attach great
importance to the July 30 workshop. USTR's Maruyama
indicated he would relay Sun's views to industry, but
that industry during the workshop would likely stress
its core concern, i.e., that mandating such a
certification regime for products in the commercial
sector would go considerably beyond international
practice.

8. (SBU) Comment: Sun's comment that CNCA will not delay
the implementation date of the certification
requirements suggests that May 1, 2009 will remain the
deadline for compliance with the as yet unpublished
regulation. This is despite the fact that the Chinese
government has until now delayed the publication of
implementing guidelines, originally expected on May 1,
2008. In addition, Sun's repeated emphasis on the
July 30 workshop with industry seemed to be an
expression of growing impatience with the United
States' objections to the proposed regulations, and
possibly a warning that there may not be any further
opportunity for discussion before final implementing
regulations are published. End Comment.

RANDT

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