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Trade & Cooperation Agreement - what does it mean for Data Protection?

View profile for Paul Herbert
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Following the long awaited, and very last minute, Trade and Cooperation Agreement put in place between the UK and the EU on Christmas Eve we summarise the headlines concerning data transfers as from January 2021:

Transfers from UK to EEA 

These will remain subject to the UK’s GDPR (which is more or less identical in substance to the EU’s GDPR). The UK has confirmed that such transfers are not restricted and so can continue as before without the need for any transfer mechanisms to be put in place.

Transfers from UK to third countries outside the EEA 

The position remains similar to the current GDPR rules. Although the UK will in due course make its own adequacy decisions, for the time being existing EU adequacy decisions apply and the EU approved standard contractual clauses (SCCs) can continue to be used.

Transfers from EEA to UK 

This was the key potential sticking point: From January 2021 the UK is a “third country” so far as the EU’s GDPR is concerned; therefore, transfers from the EEA to the UK will be restricted transfers. The UK had been seeking an adequacy decision from the European Commission as part of the Brexit deal to permit such transfers to continue without the need for a transfer tool to be put in place. A joint declaration published alongside the TCA makes clear that the EU will undertake this adequacy assessment, albeit that this is not part of the deal. Pending this, a temporary arrangement has been agreed to allow data to continue to be transferred from the EEA to the UK for the next four months (extendable to six months).  Hopefully an adequacy decision will have been issued by then…

Therefore it will not be necessary for EEA based businesses involved in transfers to the UK to put in place SCCs or other transfer mechanisms, for the time being at least.

Some much needed cheer, data protection wise at least, for January!

If you would like further advice about your commercial contracts and the end of the transition period then please contact Paul Herbert, Partner and head of the Commercial team at Goodman Derrick at pherbert@gdlaw.co.uk or on +44 (0)20 7421 7922.


This guide is for general information only and should not be relied upon as providing specific legal advice.


UK-EU - Trade and Cooperation - Legal Services from Goodman Derrick

The Brexit transition period has ended and the UK Government and the European Commission has announced the terms of our new trading relationship in the draft Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

The TCA is wide-ranging and includes terms on trade in goods and services, economic and social co-operation, law enforcement and security co-operation and governance.

There is now no doubt that the UK’s relationship with the EU has changed for good, there will be both new legal risks and commercial opportunities for your business in the months and years ahead – is your business ready?

Please click here to see how we can help you navigate the challenges, manage the uncertainty and exploit new commercial opportunities.

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