Members of the World Trade Organization are seeking to push through new rules limiting government interference in data used by multinational businesses, the Nikkei Asian Review reports, touching on a central issue in the dispute between the US and China.
The group proposing the new bill, led by countries such as the US, Australia, Singapore, and Japan, wish to stop governments forcing companies to share technology secrets in exchange for doing business in their territories.
This practice has been a major gripe of US lawmakers towards China, which Washington believes is using American technology to drive its own industrial development.
The details of the proposal will be released later this month around the time of the annual Davos forum in Switzerland. The group hopes that the new rules could take effect next year.
The move can be interpreted as push back against the long-running treatment by the Chinese government towards foreign firms, which outsiders argue creates an unfair market and risks the loss of intellectual property and customer data.