Home / News & Speeches / EU Member states must strengthen provisions on cross-border data flows, says ICC Secretary-General

In response to the European Commission’s proposed provisions for cross-border data flows in trade and investment agreements, ICC calls on EU member states to prevent digital protectionism.

In a letter to Emil Karanikolov, Minister of Economy of Bulgaria—the nation currently presiding the Council of the European Union (EU)— ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO urged EU member states to strengthen language in the proposal that could otherwise allow countries to introduce damaging protectionist measures under the guise of protecting personal data and privacy.

“A failure to obtain effective trade commitments against unjustified data localisation measures and for legitimate flows of data under the applicable rules and based on reciprocity conditions would seriously impact the value of any trade agreements moving forward,” the letter warns.

Earlier this year, the European Commission officially endorsed a new set of provisions for cross-border data flows, to be used in future trade and investment agreements. On 18 May, a formal consultation with member states kicked off, with the EU Trade Policy Committee currently deliberating over the new rules.

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Cross-border data flows are already indispensable to the global trade of goods and services and will only become more so with digital transformation of the economy underfoot. ICC encourages EU member states to obtain effective trade commitments against unjustified data localisation measures. This is important for the prosperous digital ambitions governments have set for themselves and the EU as a whole.

Through private sector policy leadership, regulatory advocacy and the promotion of best practice, ICC’s Commission on the Digital Economy promotes the global development of the digital economy and stable growth of information and communication technology. Drawing upon a cross-section of business leaders and experts from ICC’s global network, members collaborate across sectors to articulate business views on timely policy developments.

Read the full ICC letter on our website.

Read the ICC policy position on trade in the digital economy – A primer on global data flows for policymakers here.

For more information, contact:

  • Stephen Lloyd
  • +33 1 49 53 28 49
  • Global Communications Coordinator