The UK is finalizing a data deal with South Korea to help millions of people grow economically

UK organizations will be able to securely share personal data with the Republic of Korea by the end of the year as the UK finalizes legislation for its first independent adequacy decision.

Allowing businesses in both countries to share information without restrictions will make it easier for them to operate and grow. Once in force, the law is estimated to reduce administrative and financial burdens for UK businesses by £11m a year and boost exports to South Korea by £3.8m a year.

Personal data is information associated with an individual, such as a name or email address, and must be protected to high standards to ensure that data is collected, shared and used safely.

After agreeing in principle to a data adequacy agreement in July 2022, the UK government completed a full assessment of the Republic of Korea’s personal data legislation. The government has concluded that the Republic of Korea has strong privacy laws that will protect the transfer of information to South Korea while protecting the rights and protections of UK citizens.

Until now, organizations have had to have expensive and time-consuming contractual safeguards such as standard data protection clauses and Mandatory Corporate Rules. The new freedoms will open up opportunities for many small and medium-sized businesses that have avoided international data transfers to Korea due to these burdens.

Removing barriers to data transfer will also boost research and innovation by making it easier for experts to collaborate across the UK on life-saving medical treatments and other vital research. For example, the secure international transfer of personal data is essential to the development of effective medical treatments such as vaccines.

UK Information Minister Julia Lopez met with representatives of the Korean Personal Information Protection Commission today to mark the introduction of the bill into parliament, which is expected to come into effect on December 19.

This is the UK’s first decision to adequately recognize a priority country after leaving the European Union (EU).

The UK’s adequacy decision is broader than the EU’s deal with South Korea. The most significant difference between the two deals is that UK organizations will be able to share personal credit information with the Republic of Korea to identify customers and verify payments. The ability to share this type of information will help UK businesses with a presence in the Republic of Korea to increase their credit, lending, investment and insurance operations in the Republic of Korea.

Information Minister Julia Lopez said: “By the end of the year, businesses will be able to freely share data with the Republic of Korea – safe in the knowledge that it will be protected to the high privacy standards we expect in the UK.

Eliminating unnecessary burdens on businesses will help unleash innovation, accelerate development and improve life in both our countries.”

The Republic of Korea is one of the fastest growing markets for the UK, with more than two-thirds of UK services using data to the country.

UK Information Commissioner John Edwards said: “We are supporting the Government in carrying out adequacy assessments to ensure that personal data is freely transferred to trusted partners around the world.

“We advised the Government during this evaluation of the Republic of Korea and are pleased that the Government recognizes similar data protection rights and protections in Korean law. This will bring certainty to UK businesses and reduce the compliance burden, while ensuring that people’s data is handled responsibly.”