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EU Recognizes NZ Privacy Law

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

27 December 2012

The European Commission has declared that New Zealand privacy law provides an adequate standard of data protection for the purposes of European Union (EU) law.

The declaration has been welcomed by New Zealand's Justice Minister, Judith Collins, and Trade Minister, Tim Groser, who said that it will enable EU countries to send personal data to New Zealand for processing without the need for extra controls.

From the European Commission's perspective, the decision is intended to facilitate the free flow of personal data across borders. The Commission says that this will mean that businesses handling data can rely on legal certainty in data protection rules, while personal data will be protected to a high standard.

The Commission maintains that there are also benefits for the economy and trade. It argues that rules which recognize the adequacy of data protection standards make life easier for EU businesses by providing legal certainty in their international operations.

Approving of New Zealand's privacy laws gives "a substantial vote of confidence" to the country's overall regulatory environment, the Commission says, thus facilitating personal data transfers and boosting trade. Total trade in goods between New Zealand and the EU amounts to EUR6.7bn (USD8.8bn) a year, while trade in services is worth EUR3.1bn annually.

Groser also anticipates trading benefits, stressing that the decision gives New Zealand a significant competitive advantage over other countries trading with the EU. He explained, "It will allow New Zealand businesses who deal with personal data to confidently assure their current and future European customers that information will remain adequately protected as it flows from any of the 27 EU member states to New Zealand for processing."

TAGS: business | European Commission | law | New Zealand | standards | trade | European Union (EU) | services | Europe

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