ERT Position on cross-border data flows in trade agreements

11 April 2018

In order to harness the opportunities of digitisation and enhance European competitiveness, European companies rely on the ability to move data across borders through their global networks and operations. 

National restrictions that impede companies from sharing data across borders affect their ability to operate in overseas markets, and as a result, European competitiveness on the global stage.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides for mechanisms (such as adequacy decisions1) for the international transfer of personal data out of the EU. Free trade agreements (FTAs) should include provisions to ensure inbound cross-border data flows and prevent data localisation requirements.

It is essential that the EU adopts a trade negotiating position that reflects these principles.