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The Philippines to join the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System

The Philippines has formally joined the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System, according to a recent press release.

This move is seen to expand the country’s trading opportunities within the Asia Pacific region by eliminating data-flow barriers when transacting with member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) through the adaption of common standards for data privacy.

Transferring data in a safe and seamless manner

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) recently submitted the Philippines’ letter of intent to join the CBPR System.

In the document, Privacy Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro said the Philippines intends to use at least one APEC-recognised Accountability Agent to certify local companies as CBPR-compliant.

The businesses will be able to transfer personal data in a safe and seamless manner across other certified companies operating in the APEC region, which accounts for about half of global trade, when they CBPR-certified.

Philippine companies can gain entry to a much larger market at reduced compliance costs with respect to cross-border data transfers.

The submission of the country’s letter of intent marks the culmination of an elaborate process of collaboration between the Commission; its mother agency, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT); the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Inter-agency collaboration

The Privacy Commissioner reiterated that this is a perfect embodiment of inter-agency teamwork, achieving a milestone that not only boosts Philippine data privacy and trade but even the diplomatic relationship with Asia Pacific economies.

In his endorsement letter, DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez emphasised that the country’s participation in the CBPR is aligned with the government thrust of helping local companies become part of the global market.

According to him, this would provide micro, small and medium enterprises opportunities for growth by gaining access across APEC markets and participating in global supply chains which rely on the free movement of data across borders.

DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan III, meanwhile, has acknowledged the significance of participating in the System and expressed support for the initiative.

According to him, institutionalising the implementation of data privacy policies consistent with the APEC Privacy Framework opens opportunities for cross-border data flows and provides a step forward, towards building a robust Philippine digital economy.

About the CBPR

The APEC CBPR certification serves as a seal of privacy compliance and accountability, creating a competitive advantage in both local and global markets.

It also fosters trust among consumers, assured that their personal data is securely transferred.

By taking steps to expand the CBPR System to the Philippines and beyond, a growing coalition of pro-growth and pro-privacy economies is being built.

This will see the importance of balancing privacy and economic prosperity.

In this digital age, there is no ignoring the importance of privacy practices.

Consumers around the world are imploring governments to help create solutions that enhance privacy without hindering innovation.

The Philippines’ participation in the CBPR System has been anticipated since it became a member in the APEC Cross Border Privacy Enforcement Arrangement (CPEA) back in 2017.

To date, there are eight (8) participating economies in the CBPR System. These are:

  1. United States of America
  2. Mexico
  3. Japan
  4. Canada
  5. Republic of Korea
  6. Australia
  7. Singapore
  8. Chinese Taipei

After evaluation and upon approval by the JOP, the Philippines will be the 9th economy to join the system.

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