Global business groups urge China to suspend bank IT rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Business associations from the United States, Japan and Europe told Chinese officials on Monday they still have "strong concerns" about bank information technology rules and urged Beijing to formally suspend them.

The joint letter, from 31 trade associations, increases pressure over rules pushing China's state-owned banks to buy technology from domestic vendors, which the US trade office has said could breach China's international trade commitments.

The "buy domestic" rule is one of several recent moves by China that have antagonised the US and its top technology companies, including a draft anti-terrorism law assailed by President Barack Obama last month.

The groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the European Services Forum and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the rules and other policies discriminate against foreign providers of Internet and information and communications technology (ICT) products, solutions and services.

A senior US Treasury official said on March 30 China had agreed to suspend implementation of the rules, but the groups - which include organisations representing companies like Systems , Apple, International Business Machines Corp, Microsoft Corp, Oracle Corp, and Google - said banks were continuing to implement the rules.

"We therefore urge the Chinese leadership to officially suspend implementation of the guidelines through a written public notice, publicise them as a proposal, and initiate a formal public consultation consistent with China's international obligations," said the letter, to the Chinese Communist Party Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs.

The groups said they were also concerned about similar initiatives in the telecommunications sector and a broad review of cyber security, asking that companies and foreign governments be consulted.