China's commerce ministry on Friday briefed representatives of major trade partners on the country's new anti-espionage law, it said in a statement.
The law, which took effect this month, bans the transfer of any information related to national security and interests, without defining those terms, while broadening the definition of spying to include cyberattacks against state organs or critical infrastructure.
Ministry officials headed by assistant commerce minister Chen Chunjiang met with the U.S., European, Japanese and South Korean chambers of commerce, as well as 30 foreign firms, it said.
Chen said China is committed to creating a fair, transparent and predictable business environment.
President Xi Jinping's increasing focus on national security — in particular a recent crackdown on consultancies and due diligence firms — has left many foreign companies uncertain where they might step over the line of the law, foreign chambers of commerce have said.
The new legislation grants authorities carrying out anti-espionage investigations access to data, electronic equipment, information on personal property, and grants them the authority to apply exit bans.
In addition, the commerce ministry said they discussed cross-border data flows while the European Chamber of Commerce in China said the topic of export controls also came up.
"It is a positive that MOFCOM is taking steps to clarify rules and regulations in these areas, especially given the Chamber’s recent Business Confidence Survey found that ambiguous rules and regulations ranks as the top regulatory challenge faced by European companies operating in China," the chamber said.