OECD Trade Policy Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected trade policy studies prepared for use within the OECD.

NB. No. 1 to No. 139 were released under the previous series title OECD Trade Policy Working Papers.


Mapping commonalities in regulatory approaches to cross-border data transfers

Data flows across border underpin today’s digitalised and globally interconnected world, but have also given rise to a range of concerns, including about privacy protection, intellectual property protection, regulatory reach, competition, and industrial policy. This has led to the emergence of a patchwork of rules governing cross-border data flows, complicating both the enforcement of public policy goals and increasing the costs for firms of all sizes of operating on a global scale. In practice, countries are using a range of mechanisms and instruments to enable cross-border data transfers with “trust”, including unilateral mechanisms, plurilateral arrangements, and trade agreements. This paper identifies the commonalities, complementarities and elements of convergence in these different instruments for moving data across borders, with the aim of supporting international dialogue and co-operation on more predictable and transparent combinations of data flows and “trust”.


Keywords: Data free flows with trust, Data-flows, Privacy, Digital economy, Interoperability, Trade policy
JEL: O3: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights; F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
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