(Bloomberg) -- Foreign firms and chambers in China expressed concern over a lack of feedback from Beijing on their plans to comply with new cross-border data rules, underscoring the risks and uncertainties of doing business there.

The issue came up during a meeting between foreign firms and the Ministry of Commerce this week, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing a private event.

Vice Commerce Minister Ling Ji acknowledged the concerns and said there’s a lot of work involved in the introduction of the regulations, which needs to be coordinated with several departments, one of the people said. 

China’s new data laws, which give President Xi Jinping’s government the power to shut down or fine companies that leak or mishandle sensitive information, have sparked widespread anxiety at foreign firms as they sought to comply with a November deadline. Beijing hasn’t said much about the policy after proposing some exemptions in September. The draft measures haven’t been adopted.

The restrictions have prompted companies including Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc., as well as major global banks, to spend millions of dollars to localize data domestically. The strict rules, part of Beijing’s broader national security goals, have seen regulators seek out granular detail such as exact IP addresses for transfers and specifics about how much data companies have stored in China.

Some companies have submitted plans based on the stricter rules, while others are waiting for the exemptions to be finalized before making their move. Only some of those that submitted plans — such as the China operations of Hyundai Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. — have passed the security assessment.

A German Chamber of Commerce survey conducted from late November to early December found that just 7% of those surveyed have submitted their application, and only 8% of those applications have been approved.

The Ministry of Commerce didn’t respond to a faxed request for comment. It said in a statement Wednesday that more than 60 firms and nine foreign chambers participated in the meeting, and that the attendees said government measures to improve the business environment have achieved “good results.” 

The Commerce Ministry has pledged to hold a roundtable meeting with foreign companies every month to hear and address their concerns. Authorities are seeking to allay fears about doing business in China amid an economic slowdown, foreign capital exodus and worsening geopolitics. 

During the Wednesday meeting, foreign firms called for greater access to bid for government procurement projects, and highlighted other challenges including varied interpretations of state policies, according to the people. 

--With assistance from Colum Murphy.

(Updates with survey findings in seventh paragraph)

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