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New Report: Japan and UK Lead Global Economies in Cross-Border Data Flows

Salesforce today released Data Beyond Borders 3.0, its third report analyzing the G20 economies’ openness to cross-border data flows, and policy recommendations to further realize the benefits.

Why it matters: When data moves across borders, it increases competition, enhances the opportunities for a country’s people, communities, and businesses — including job-creating and knowledge-sharing — and positively impacts a country’s overall economy. 

Analysis shows G20 economies have made substantial progress in enabling cross-border data flows. However, this progress also exposes an economic gap between countries that embrace open data transfer policies and those that do not.

  • The report shows that countries that embrace open cross-border data flow receive an  economic benefit: Cross-border ecommerce increased 45-fold over the last decade, reaching an estimated $2.7 trillion in 2023.
  • The data transfer relationship between the United States and Europe alone is worth about $7.1 trillion.
  • Digital enablement is expected to drive 70% of new economic growth over the next decade.

The big picture: The latest report findings come as G20 leaders will meet in New Delhi this September, where Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) remains a major discussion topic.

Driving the news: The Data Beyond Borders 3.0 report ranked each of the G20 economies in the ease of cross-border data flows. It found:

  • Japan and the United Kingdom once again lead G20 economies in the ease of cross-border data flows, followed by Australia and Singapore (equally ranked), and the United States. 
  • Russia and China rank at the other end of the spectrum, due to strong data localization requirements and minimal regulatory enablers for cross-border data flows.
  • Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia are among the economies that have most improved since the 2021 report, having developed or implemented legislation that promotes cross-border data flows. 

The Salesforce perspective: “Cross-border data transfers enable economic success,” said Sassoon Grigorian, VP of APAC Government Affairs, Salesforce. “While there has been progress in facilitating cross-border data flows in G20 economies since 2021, this report shows that economies that make a concerted effort to foster conducive data policies and regulations are more likely to grow and be competitive.”

Cross-border data transfers enable economic success

Sassoon Grigorian, VP of APAC Government Affairs, Salesforce

“There also remain concerns over the emergence of data sovereignty since the last report,” said Grigorian. “This report recommends that there be a clear, internationally agreed definition of data sovereignty and that economies leverage international standards”. 

Taking action: Countries can take action to further enable cross-border data transfers and optimize for economic growth, including:

  • Developing global standards by harmonizing privacy laws and aligning on principles for government access to data in the cloud.
  • Expanding digital economy agreements, such as free trade agreements, to include cross-border data provisions.
  • Making trusted data sharing frameworks the default.
  • Accelerating the digitization of businesses and government services.
  • Clearly defining data sovereignty to ensure it is global and interoperable, along with standards to manage it.

Fast facts: 

  • Cross-border data flows came to prominence under Japan’s G20 Presidency, when the Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) framework was developed. 
  • The DFFT framework is an important part of countries’ ability to enable cross-border data transfers while addressing concerns over privacy, data protection, intellectual property rights, and security.

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