UK, Dubai International Financial Centre issue joint statement on deepening data partnership

DUBAI, 16th December 2022 (WAM) -- On behalf of the UK Government and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the UK Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez MP, and Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, issued a joint statement on a shared commitment to deepening their data partnership and the promotion of the trustworthy use and exchange of data between the UK and DIFC.

DIFC is the first financial centre in the MEASA region to engage with the UK Government on an adequacy assessment. DIFC welcomes the recent and noteworthy progress made by our respective officials to facilitate the free and secure flow of personal data between the UK and DIFC and will prioritise the successful conclusion of the assessment of DIFC in these discussions.

International data transfers underpin modern-day business transactions and financial services. They help streamline supply chain management and allow for financial inclusion, so that businesses anywhere, particularly those in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region with ties to the UK, can scale and trade globally. There are as many as 5,000 British companies operating in the UAE, many of which depend on safe data transfers.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “DIFC is a destination for culture and commerce, but its key distinguishing factor is its legal and regulatory framework. The sound infrastructure built by our legislation is adaptable yet resilient enough to cater to essential, innovative legal principles and best practices that support key business activities in DIFC. The DIFC Data Protection Law 2020 is a prime example of that, and the joint statement issued today with the UK government confirms it.”
Jacques Visser, Chief Legal Officer and Commissioner of Data Protection at DIFC, added: “I am pleased to share that our team has been working in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) team to build a reliable, scalable yet robust “data bridge” between our jurisdictions. The joint statement issued today is a signal that the UK is taking its place as a leader in innovative data protection policy, and the evaluation of the DIFC Data Protection Law is a key part of the overall policy framework on international transfers. We look forward to completing the assessment in the near future.”

Julia Lopez, UK Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, said: “Trusted data transfers can unlock huge potential for trade, investment and innovation around the world. The UAE has always been an important destination for UK businesses, and I look forward to strengthening our partnership through the free and secure flow of data in the future.”

The UK and DIFC share a deep commitment to high data protection standards fit for the digital age, which are underpinned by the trustworthy use of data. We are both working to ensure that our data protection laws facilitate responsible innovation, reduce burdens on businesses and deliver better, lower risk outcomes.