The bilateral statement given recently (25 March 2022) on a new agreement for future EU-US data flows comes during a visit to Brussels by Joe Biden, President of the United States.
On 25 March 2022, Joe Biden, President of the United States and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission announced a political agreement for new a Privacy Shield framework that will promote growth and innovation in Europe and the US and help companies of all sectors and sizes compete in the digital economy.
In his address, President Biden underscored a shared commitment between the EU and US to privacy, data protection and to the rule of law.
This long-awaited agreement comes after years of negotiations following the Schrems II ruling at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in July 2020. This ruling invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield and cast doubt over the legitimacy of other means (standard contractual clauses) to legally transfer personal data from the EU to the US.
This has led to a lengthy period of persistent uncertainty for businesses around what services they can use, as well as increased compliance costs.
The EU and US are key trading partners, with the US Chamber of Commerce suggesting that the data transfer relationship between the US and EU is worth around $7.1 trillion. In fact, global data flows now contribute more to global growth than global trade in goods.
While this political agreement will bring reassurance for the hundreds of businesses relying on transatlantic data flows, a formal legal text will still need to be developed and approved by both sides of the Atlantic. The new agreement will also have to stand the test of scrutiny from privacy and civil liberties groups, if the new agreement is taken back to the CJEU.
As the EU and US make progress on a new agreement, the UK must also build on its ambition to strike a new deal for UK-US data transfers.
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