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UK concluded its first data adequacy decision with South Korea

After agreeing to a data adequacy agreement in principle in July 2022, the UK government has completed its full assessment of the Republic of Korea’s personal data legislation. The government has concluded that the country had strong privacy laws in place to protect data transfers into its territory, while upholding the rights and protections of the UK citizens to whom the data pertains.

In practice, this means that businesses in both countries will be able to share data without restrictions, making it easier for them to operate and engage in bilateral trade. The agreement also guarantees that personal data shared across borders will be protected to the high privacy standards upheld in the UK.

techUK welcomes this agreement as it makes easier for businesses to move data across borders while upholding strong privacy standards. You can read more about our recommendations for the future UK data governance here.

It is important to note that the European Commission adopted its adequacy decision on South Korea last year, making it easier for the UK to reach its own adequacy without having to worry about jeopardising the UK- EU adequacy agreement.

The UK adequacy on South Korea does however differ from the European Union’s existing deal with South Korea in that UK organisations will be able to share personal data related to credit information with South Korea to help identify customers and verify payments. It is expected to help UK organisations with a presence in the country to boost their credit, lending, investment and insurance operations there.

Until now, UK businesses wanting to move data into South Korea would have needed multiple contractual safeguards in place, such as standard data protection clauses and binding corporate rules, rendering data flows a costly and time-consuming exercise. For some small and micro businesses, cost burden is so high that it makes a prospect of bilateral trade unattainable. The new agreement will ease some of this burden,  and is expected to encourage more small and medium-sized enterprises that may have avoided making international data transfers, to do so. Removing barriers to data transfers will also have a positive impact on research and innovation.

The adequacy agreement is estimated to cut administrative and financial burdens for UK businesses by £11 million a year and is expected to increase exports to South Korea by £3.8 million annually. Both countries are also expected to start talks on an enhanced trade deal early next year.

The legislation will now be laid in Parliament and is expected to come into force on 19 December 2022.

The government’s list of priority countries with which it is seeking to establish post-Brexit data adequacy agreements includes Australia, Colombia, Singapore, the US and the Dubai International Finance Centre.

Click here for the full press release


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