The Biden administration said last week that a new initiative to protect sensitive personal data won’t be used to limit U.S. trade relationships with other countries.

According to a White House fact sheet, a new executive order from President Biden directs the Department of Justice to issue regulations to “prevent the large-scale transfer of Americans’ personal data to countries of concern and provides safeguards around other activities that can give those countries access to Americans’ sensitive data.” This includes genomic data, biometric data, personal health data, geolocation data, financial data, and certain kinds of personally identifiable information, which “can land in the hands of foreign intelligence services, militaries, or companies controlled by foreign governments.”

Restricted activities will include any export, acquisition, holding, use, transfer, transportation, or dealing in any property in which a foreign country or national thereof has any interest where that transaction violates those regulations.

The EO also directs other federal agencies to take related actions, including establishing greater protection of sensitive government-related data and setting set high security standards to prevent access by countries of concern to personal data through other commercial means.

However, the EO reiterates the U.S. commitment to “supporting a vibrant, global economy by promoting cross-border data flows required to enable international commerce and trade” and states that the order is “carefully calibrated” to minimize disruptions to commercial activity. Specifically, it does not “broadly prohibit United States persons from conducting commercial transactions, including exchanging financial and other data part of the sale of commercial goods and services, with entities and individuals located in or subject to the control, direction, or jurisdiction of countries of concern.” It also does not “impose measures aimed at a broader decoupling of the substantial consumer, economic, scientific, and trade relationships the United States has with other countries.”

Further, the DOJ is directed to report back within a year on the economic impact of the implementation of the order, including on the international competitiveness of U.S. industry.

Copyright © 2024 Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.; WorldTrade Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved.

ST&R: International Trade Law & Policy

Since 1977, we have set the standard for international trade lawyers and consultants, providing comprehensive and effective customs, import and export services to clients worldwide.

View Our Services 


Cookie Consent

We have updated our Privacy Policy relating to our use of cookies on our website and the sharing of information. By continuing to use our website or subscribe to our publications, you agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.