This week, it was officially announced that South Korea has become the fifth country to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Cross Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) system. This system was developed by APEC in 2011 to “build consumer, business and regulator trust in cross border flows of personal information” and thus facilitate e-commerce among APEC countries. The Ministry of Interior and the Korea Communications Commission stated on Monday that approval for joining the CBPR had been secured. In order for countries to opt in to the system, their legal systems and privacy protection must meet APEC’s standards.

APEC is an economic forum comprised of countries throughout Asia-Pacific. APEC’s importance should be noted: its 21 member economies comprise 54 per cent of the world’s GDP and 40 per cent of world trade. It exists to assist in trade through faster customs procedures and initiatives to synchronise regulatory systems across its member countries. The CBPR is a voluntary accountability-based system that facilitates the safe transfer of personal information across the APEC region.

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