The UK and United States have made ‘significant progress’ towards a data adequacy agreement to boost digital trade between the nations.

UK Digital Secretary Michelle Donelan met US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to discuss digital priorities which the UK government said “paves the way for a new data adequacy agreement in the coming weeks”.

They discussed the UK’s adequacy assessment of the new US Data Privacy Framework, used to send UK data to organisations in America. 

Data adequacy agreements allow personal data to be transferred freely from the UK to countries with high protection standards, the UK government said. “New deals with other countries will unlock more growth and allow us to share crucial information, such as life-saving research and manufacturing details across our borders,” it claimed.

“Reducing barriers to data flows makes it easier for businesses to trade and grow in international markets and brings benefits for consumers such as better access to higher-quality products and lower prices.” 

It comes after President Biden signed an Executive Order aimed at strengthening safeguards for UK and European Union data processed by US authorities, including protocols for citizens in the EU to seek redress if their data is  used unlawfully by intelligence agencies.

“The United States shares our democratic values, digital priorities and commitment to high standards of data privacy,” said Donelan. “Data and tech are creating new opportunities for growth and connection between our two countries, including between our world-leading tech industries.

“I look forward to working together to bring these benefits to people on both sides of the Atlantic.”

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Raimondo added: “Today’s announcement affirms our shared commitment to promoting responsible innovation and digital policies, while also supporting growth and opportunity. This partnership reflects our deepening cooperation on bilateral data and tech issues, as well as our commitment to closer engagement and global leadership as these issues continue to evolve. 

“I look forward to working closely with Secretary Donelan as we continue looking for ways to balance the needs of privacy and responsible data use while removing barriers for critical business needs.”

Following their meeting, the Digital Secretary and Secretary of Commerce met with senior leaders from industry, academia and civil society including Meta, IBM and the London Stock Exchange.

“Today’s progress on UK-US data sharing will be welcomed by businesses across the UK,” said Julian David, CEO of trade organisation techUK. “An agreement will provide business with the legal certainty and confidence needed to access new markets and create opportunities for innovation. 

“This will enable the UK to leverage its world-leading industries such as financial services and tech to drive wider economic growth on all sides of the Atlantic.”

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