In early 2017, the EU Commission published a communication about “Exchanging and Protecting Personal Data in a Globalized World” in which the EU Commission prioritizes discussions on possible adequacy decision with key trading partners, starting from Japan and South Korea in 2017. A first step appears to be taking place by the fact that South Korea has agreed to join – as an observer in the first instance- the Council of Europe Convention for Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (Convention 108). South Korea does not exclude a future step towards an inclusion as a party to the Convention 108.

On November 2017, the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, the Chairman of the Korea Communication Commission and the Vice-President of the Korea Internet & Security Agency met, in Brussels, to discuss the possibilities of further strengthening cooperation between the EU and South Korean around data protection, including data flows.

Both sides expressed the need to ensure a high level of privacy and data security. Each assured they are ready to enhance cooperation in promoting strong data protection standards as soon as personal data is a central factor of consumer trust in the data economy.

EU and South Korean privacy legislation has recently reformed, increasing the convergence between the data protection regimes. New opportunities now exist to further facilitate data flows, including through an adequacy decision of the EU Commission.

The EU Commission and South Korea have reaffirmed their commitment to intensify their efforts towards achieving their common objective in 2018.