On December 15, 2022, the UK government and the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (“DIFC”) issued a joint statement on the shared commitment to deepening the UK-DIFC data partnership. The statement explains that “[t]here are over 5,000 UK companies operating in the UAE, many of which depend on the free and secure flow of safe data across borders.” Further, the UK and the DIFC have strong links in the financial sector, following the DIFC’s establishment in 2004, with 16% of the DIFC’s financial services companies originally based in the UK.
According to the statement, the UK government and the DIFC have been involved in discussions on building a framework which will facilitate the free and secure flow of personal data. The DIFC has already recognized the UK’s strong data protections and the UK is now in the advanced stages of its technical data protection assessment of the DIFC. In this respect, the UK government and the DIFC are committed to:
- “working together to realise the benefits of the important role that the trustworthy use of data across borders plays in international commerce, responsible innovation, and research as well as in empowering, protecting, and delivering better outcomes for individuals, and in sustaining peaceful and prosperous societies”; and
- “the pursuit of a closer UK-DIFC partnership on data flows as a way of realizing untapped economic growth.”
In the statement, the UK government and the DIFC also announced the progress on a new Memorandum of Understanding on data. This will “encourage closer cooperation on data-related matters,” which, “will support and sustain our work to promote high data protection standards and international data flows in the context of our objectives on growth, trade, and prosperity.”