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UK signs first post-Brexit data pact with South Korea

Data-dependent trade between the two nations is worth £1.33 billion, and the government hopes the deal will open up new markets for digital trade

The UK and South Korea announced yesterday a deal to boost data sharing between the two countries in the hopes it will foster digital trade between the two nations.

This is the UK’s first independent adequacy agreement with a “priority country” since leaving the EU and sees the nation seizing the benefits of having independent data laws, said the government. 

Data-dependent trade between the UK and South Korea is worth £1.33 billion. The nation was named a priority country for data adequacy by the government last August, along with the US, Australia, Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre, and Colombia.

The government added that the ability to share more data without restrictions reduces administrative and financial compliance burdens and makes it easier for more organisations to trade and operate in both countries. It hopes this will open up new markets to digital trade and bring benefits like lower prices to consumers.

The new agreement will mean organisations in both countries will be able to share data freely and maintain high protection standards. This includes AstraZeneca, Standard Chartered, Samsung, and LG Electronics. Organisations will also no longer need contractual safeguards, like International Data Transfer Agreements or Binding Corporate Rules in place.

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“Today marks a huge milestone for the UK, the Republic of Korea and the high standards of data protection we share,” said Julia Lopez, the UK’s data minister. “Our new agreement will open up more digital trade to boost UK businesses and will enable more vital research that can improve the lives of people across the country.”

The deal strengthens the UK’s commitment to championing international data flows as set out in the National Data Strategy, according to the government. It added that British organisations and consumers can trust data standards in South Korea thanks to the deal, which promotes the trustworthy use and sharing of data between the two countries. However, it is unclear when the agreement comes into effect.

In 2019, data-driven trade generated nearly three-quarters of the UK’s total service exports and generated an estimated £234 billion for the economy.

Last December, the UK and US announced a new agreement that would see the nations develop a deeper cross-border data partnership. The countries aim to develop a data-sharing partnership that both allowed the free-flowing of data while adhering to the different data protection laws and frameworks adopted by the two countries.

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