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techUK comment on Japan and EU mutual adequacy decisions

Read techUK Deputy CEO Antony Walker's comment on the mutual adequacy agreements agreed today between the EU and Japan.

Commenting on the mutual adequacy agreements agreed today between the EU and Japan, techUK’s deputy CEO, Antony Walker, said:

“Today’s landmark announcement of EU-Japan mutual adequacy agreements demonstrates the fundamental importance of the free flow of data sitting alongside free trade in both goods and services. The fact that the EU and Japan have agreed mutual adequacy decisions is hugely significant in unlocking data flows between advanced digital economies. Japan is the first country to agree adequacy under the GDPR and as a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). This means the agreement potentially opens up a new pathway for onward data transfer through APEC countries. It will be important to see how the specific additional safeguards agreed by Japan will operate in practice and what that means for the operational effectiveness of this agreement. It will also be an important test-case as the UK and EU seek to agree a data flows agreement post-Brexit, by setting out the key requirements to meet the ‘essentially equivalent’ test under GDPR. Given the UK and EU’s data protection regimes are significantly more aligned than Japan and the EU, techUK would hope the UK and EU will be able to agree mutual adequacy decisions as soon as possible. 

“The EU-Japan agreement also demonstrates the benefits of agreeing adequacy decisions alongside free trade agreements, as we expect the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement also to be signed today. In a global digital economy, data and trade go hand in hand, so it is positive that the EU and Japan have been able to agree both a trade deal and data flows agreement side by side.

“It is still not clear whether the UK will be able to roll over existing EU adequacy decisions, and what the process for doing so will be. More clarity on this issue is needed to ensure data can continue to flow between the UK and countries it already has agreements with. The new Japan adequacy agreement will be a crucial one to consider as part of that process.”


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