Trade group wants U.S.-China action on cyber security threats

Mon Feb 4, 2013 4:11pm EST
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By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. companies want the U.S. and Chinese governments to work together to address the growing problem of cyber attacks that threaten to undermine trade between the world's two largest economies, a U.S. business leader said on Monday.

"We would simply say it's time for the governments to work on it," John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, told reporters at a briefing on the trade group's priorities for 2013. "We do know that companies are constant targets of efforts to get into their systems globally."

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post have in recent days complained of large-scale cyber attacks believed to have originated from China. In the Post's case, the attacks dated back to 2011.

The U.S.-China Business Council represents about 230 U.S. companies with operations in China, ranging from manufacturers such as Boeing and Caterpillar to financial services giants such as Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.

The companies' cyber security systems shield valuable intellectual property and propriety business information worth millions, if not billions, of dollars.

The Chinese government has frequently said it opposes hacking and that China too suffers frequently from hackers.

Frisbie avoided putting all the blame for the incursions on China, but said failure to address the problem would "threaten to undermine a constructive trade relationship."

"What we're saying is it is becoming a concern, a serious concern. We'd like to see the two governments try to work on it together and see if it can be addressed regardless of the source and we would encourage them to do so ... this year," he said.   Continued...