U.S. Chamber Statement on European Court of Justice Ruling on U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Agreement

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 - 2:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.–U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant released the following statement regarding today’s European Court of Justice decision on the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Agreement:

"Businesses on both sides of the Atlantic are seriously concerned about the implications of today’s ruling. More than 4,400 European and American companies of every size have relied on this agreement to be able to move data seamlessly across the transatlantic economy while providing a high standard of protection for consumers.

“It is particularly alarming that this longstanding agreement has been invalidated with no discussion of a transition period or guidance regarding how companies should comply with the law while a new agreement is negotiated or as they transition to new mechanisms. The European Commission, along with Member State Data Protection Authorities, should quickly provide guidance to ensure that businesses and consumers don’t experience a disruption in the products and services on which they rely.

“While data may be shared across the Atlantic under mechanisms other than the Safe Harbor Agreement, these alternatives involve the negotiation of tens of thousands of individual contracts or other onerous procedures that are only practical for the largest of companies. As most companies develop complex systems to ensure a high level of data protection, the administrative and technical complexity of these alternatives make it impossible to adopt changes overnight. Small and medium-sized firms on both sides of the Atlantic will bear a disproportionate share of the burden of coping with new legal and administrative requirements and a lack of legal certainty.

“Too many politicians and pundits overlook the fact that the Safe Harbor Agreement is vital to the ability of European firms to conduct business across the Atlantic. European consumers will also suffer diminished access to modern data-driven services in smaller EU markets. For all these reasons, we urge the European authorities to act swiftly to address this issue.”

International trade and investment are key components of the Chamber’s 2015 American Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity Agenda, an ambitious plan to help revitalize the American economy, create jobs, spur growth, and lift incomes.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country- and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.