The United Kingdom (UK) and Japan are seeking to establish a revised trading relationship underpinned by a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA), planned to come into play early 2021. As part of the negotiations including advanced digital standards, both parties have agreed to restrict governments’ powers to demand access to encryption keys and algorithms in a bid to ensure the protection of trade secrets of international businesses. Japan has already agreed these terms with the US in its digital trade agreement.
One would expect these prohibitions to be subject to certain exceptions, such as where disclosure would be required to resolve a dispute. The parties have also agreed not to mandate businesses to set up local servers to encourage free flow of data.
Glenn Hall and Daniel Nevzat from our Government relations and public policy team provide further information on the UK/Japan FTA negotiations here.