May 27, 2022

Volume XII, Number 147

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EU-Republic of Korea Adequacy Decisions Finalized

Following the conclusion of the adequacy talks in March 2021, the European Commission adopted on 17 December 2021 an adequacy decision addressing the transfers of personal data to the Republic of Korea under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Law Enforcement Directive

Both texts prohibit the transfer of personal data to “third countries” unless (a) the destination country benefits from (i) an adequacy decision or (ii) appropriate safeguards, such as standard contractual clauses (see our alert here) or codes of conduct (see our alert here); or (b) one of the limited derogations under Article 49 GDPR applies.

With regard to the adequacy talks, the Republic of Korea agreed on the implementation of additional safeguards. Accordingly, following reform of Republic of Korea’s data protection framework (the Personal Information Protection Act) in August 2020, several addition safeguards have been implemented, including transparency provisions and enforcement power strengthening of the Personal Information Protection Commission (§ 70). 

The Republic of Korea adequacy decision complements the Free Trade Agreement of July 2011 and allows a seamless flow of personal data between the Republic of Korea and the European Union.

Unlike the UK adequacy decision, which contains a sunset clause (see our alert here), the Republic of Korea adequacy decision is not limited in time. However, pursuant to Article 45.3 GDPR, the European Commission will carry out a first review of the decision after three years to evaluate any evolution in the Republic of Korea data protection framework that would lead to divergence with the EU regulations (§ 220). 

The Republic of Korea now belongs to the increasing group of third countries benefiting from an adequacy decision (including, since GDPR’s entry into force, Japan and the United Kingdom).

Copyright 2022 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 10
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About this Author

Andrew Chung, Seoul, KLGates, attorney
Attorney

Mr. Chung is counsel in the firm’s Seoul office. Mr. Chung focuses his practice on cross-border commercial transactions involving both public and private companies. He advises clients on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), joint ventures, corporate restructurings, licensing arrangements, private equity investments and alternative investments and other general corporate matters. 

Mr. Chung has been practicing and advising clients in Asia since 2008. 

+82.2.2198.8710
Eric Yoon Finance Attorney K&L Gates Seoul and New York
Partner

Eric Yoon is a partner resident in the firm’s New York and Seoul offices. He focuses his practice in cross-border M&A, financing, investments, and banking and financial services regulation. Over the past 25 years, he has represented major multinational corporations, financial institutions, and foreign sovereign entities in the regulatory and transactional aspects of their geographic and product-line expansions as well as strategic divestitures.

His industry sector focuses over the years have included banking and financial services,...

212-536-4813
Claude-Étienne Armingaud, KL Gates, Paris, data protection lawyer, commercial contracts attorney
Partner

Claude-Etienne Armingaud’s practice focuses on the representation of public and private companies in the area of information technologies and intellectual property law. Mr. Armingaud provides counsel to his clients at all stages of their corporate life cycle and in wide-ranging transactions, including in connection with litigation compliance matters, intellectual property protection and development, data protection strategic operations, and other commercial contracts.

Mr. Armingaud regularly advises start-up companies in matters relating to...

33-0-1-58-44-15-16
Associate

Camille Scarparo is an associate at the firm's Paris office. She is a member of the Technology Transactions and Sourcing practice group.

+33.(0)1.58.44.15.11
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