APEC Leaders’ Commitment to Reduce Barriers to Information Flows Welcomed

APEC leaders in Honolulu.
APEC leaders in Honolulu.

USCIB applauded APEC leaders for agreeing at their just-concluded summit in Honolulu to begin to put into operation a long-awaited system to recognize corporate privacy practices in order to facilitate international commerce.

In their joint communiqué, APEC leaders pledged to “implement the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System to reduce barriers to information flows, enhance consumer privacy, and promote interoperability across regional data privacy regimes.”

“Cross-border data transfers are vital to conducting business in a global economy,” said Heather Shaw, USCIB’s vice president for information, communications and technology policy.

“However, differing government regulations on transfers of personal information can create impediments to the flow of information across borders, which is the lifeblood of today’s dynamic global economy.  We are pleased that, with the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System, companies will be able to transfer customer or employee information for processing across the region based on a one-stop validation mechanism against the APEC principles, simplifying processes and reducing costs.”

Following the adoption of the APEC Privacy Framework in 2004, USCIB foresaw the potential benefits of such a mechanism to improve conditions for expanded trade and investment in the APEC region.  USCIB and its member companies have supported the development of a cross-border privacy rules system, as an active participant in the APEC working group charged with developing the rules, and have been key contributors to many components of the newly announced system.  At a preparatory meeting to the Honolulu summit, USCIB organized a workshop on the new system.

“We are particularly pleased to see an ongoing commitment to promoting interoperability across regional data privacy regimes, which will further increase the benefits and reduce the costs of participating in this program,” said Ms. Shaw.

Ms. Shaw noted the business community’s appreciation for the important roles played by Australia in chairing the APEC Data Protection subgroup, by Canada in its work in APEC and the OECD on regulatory cooperation, and by the U.S. government in helping support and coordinate the Pathfinder project.  She also recognized key input from other APEC governments that took part in the development of the system as well as constructive input from civil society groups.

Staff contacts: Heather Shaw

More on USCIB’s Information, Communications and Technology Committee

Staff Contact:   Barbara Wanner

VP, ICT Policy
Tel: 202.617.3155

Barbara Wanner directs USCIB’s work on information, communications and technology issues. She works with members and government officials on a wide range of international business issue that include advocating for the continuation of the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance and for policies aimed at promoting the stability, openness and innovative flexibility of the Internet. She represents USCIB members’ interests in several international forums, including the UN, APEC and the OECD.
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