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17 Sep 2020

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Cross-Border Data Flows: Helping Thailand Attract Investment during the Digital Era, but Efforts Must Be Accelerated to Find Partners (Current Issue No.3136)

             Presently, cross-border data flows are imperative for business growth and global trade in the digital economy era. Business organizations now view that they have to rely on cross-border data flows in order to better understand market conditions and customers, as well as for international trade and supply chain management. However, rapid transmission of cross-border data in line with thriving internet services has triggered concern in many countries about personal data and national security violations. Given this, they have begun to introduce personal data protection laws, including controls on cross-border personal data outflows by invariably refusing the transmission of personal data to other countries with inferior personal data protection standards.

             To reduce the impact of such controls on the business sector, many countries have formed clusters to set their common personal data standards with the aim of allowing freer flow of data within their groups and easing cross-border business restrictions. However, their efforts may give rise to segregated data clusters, and this could inhibit their cross-border business operations, especially trade, later on. Nevertheless, more business organizations are expected to use cross-border data flows in choosing their investment destinations in the future.

             ​For Thailand, although our personal data protection law meets the required international standards, the country may experience a formidable challenge ahead; that is, negotiations to join a group for cross-border data flows, needed to strengthen Thailand's position in accommodating and attracting new investment, as well as offering local entrepreneurs greater convenience in conducting businesses in the future. 


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