DIFC Gate Building

UK and DIFC Commit to Updated Data Partnership

The UK Government and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) have committed to deepening their data partnership.

Established in 2004, the DIFC is a financial free zone which acts as a financial hub for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) markets.

There are 5,000 British companies operating in the UAE, many of which depend on safe data transfers to scale and trade globally. Sixteen per cent of DIFC’s financial service companies were originally based in the UK.

This week Julia Lopez MP, the UK Minister of State for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, as well as Jacques Visser, the DIFC Commissioner of Data Protection issued a statement on the shared commitment to deepening the UK-DIFC data partnership.

The partnership aims to ensure that data protection laws facilitate responsible innovation, reduce burdens on businesses as well as deliver better, lower risk outcomes. The UK-DIFC data bridge will also further realise the benefits of the deep and long-standing friendship between the UK and UAE.

Explaining the statement

Amiri said: “DIFC is a destination for culture and commerce, but its key distinguishing factor is its legal and regulatory framework. The sound infrastructure built by our legislation is adaptable yet resilient enough to cater to essential, innovative legal principles and best practices that support key business activities in DIFC. The DIFC Data Protection Law 2020 is a prime example of that, and the joint statement issued today with the UK government confirms it.”

Visser added: “I am pleased to share that our team has been working in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) team to build a reliable, scalable yet robust ‘data bridge’ between our jurisdictions. The joint statement issued today is a signal that the UK is taking its place as a leader in innovative data protection policy, and the evaluation of the DIFC Data Protection Law is a key part of the overall policy framework on international transfers. We look forward to completing the assessment in the near future.”

While Lopez said: “Trusted data transfers can unlock huge potential for trade, investment and innovation around the world. The UAE has always been an important destination for UK businesses, and I look forward to strengthening our partnership through the free and secure flow of data in the future.”



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