On January 17, 2017, the International Trade Administration (“ITA”) announced that South Korea formally submitted its intent to join the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (“CBPR”) system. South Korea would be the fifth APEC economy to join the system, joining the United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan.

The APEC CBPR system is a regional, multilateral, cross-border data transfer mechanism and enforceable privacy code of conduct developed for businesses by the 21 APEC member economies. The CBPRs implement the nine high-level APEC Privacy Principles set forth in the APEC Privacy Framework. According to the ITA, there is growing international recognition that the CBPR system is “a mechanism to build confidence for consumers, businesses, and regulators in regional privacy practices,” as well as “a template for creating a global solution to data transfer restrictions.”

South Korea’s statement of intent to join the CBPR system follows on the heels of Chinese Taipei’s recent announcement that it intends to join the system in the near future, as well as recent indications that other APEC economies are considering or working towards joining the system.