Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank announced July 26 the United States’ participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum’s Cross-Border Privacy Rules system.
The voluntary system provides a set of data-privacy practices for companies doing business in participating APEC economies. The goal is to enhance electronic commerce, facilitate trade and economic growth, and strengthen consumer-privacy protections across the Asia-Pacific region, the Commerce Department said in a press release.
U.S. participation “is a significant milestone in international data protection and is an important step in the implementation of the global privacy strategy” outlined by the Obama administration, Blank said. “This system will enable participating companies in the United States and other APEC member economies to more efficiently exchange data in a secure manner, and will enhance consumer data privacy by establishing a consistent level of protection and accountability in the APEC region.”
The 21 member economies in APEC comprise a market of 2.7 billion consumers and account for 55 percent of world gross domestic product, as well as 44 percent of world trade.
On November 13, 2011, President Obama and leaders from the other APEC economies endorsed the Cross-Border Privacy Rules system at the APEC Leaders Summit in Honolulu. In their summit declaration, they committed to implementing the system to further open markets and increase regional trade. The United States plans to work with APEC to launch the system in the next six months, the Commerce Department said.