Security Experts:

China Agrees to Fight Corporate Hacking in Canada

China has pledged not to carry out state-sponsored cyberattacks against the intellectual property of Canadian firms, the two sides said Monday.

The agreement was reached as part of ongoing bilateral security and trade talks.

Western governments have accused Chinese hackers of stealing valuable proprietary technologies and business secrets from high-tech and pharmaceutical companies, as well as manufacturers.

Beijing has publicly denied wrongdoing.

China and Canada "agreed that neither country's government would conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors," an official statement said.

Beijing has recently signed similar agreements with Australia, Britain, the United States and others -- all of which had accused China of wrongdoing.

In Canada, the most serious case involved the alleged hacking in 2014 of the National Research Council (NRC), which the country's electronic eavesdropping agency said was conducted by "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor."

The NRC partners with Canadian companies and academics on cutting-edge science and technology projects.

The deal comes as Canada and China consider entering free trade negotiations, and following blowback over China's recent purchases of Canadian companies.

Polls show Canadians are overwhelmingly wary of increased trade ties with China. 

Opposition parties meanwhile raised concerns over the sale to China of two Canadian satellite and laser technology firms that also sell to Western militaries.

The bilateral security and trade talks held last week also touched on "mutual concerns" about rule of law issues, counter-terrorism, and combating transnational organized crime, the two sides said.

Beijing is pushing for an extradition treaty with Canada, but Ottawa has said it needs assurances that persons who are extradited get a fair trial and do not face the death penalty.

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