Interfacing Privacy and Trade

55 Pages Posted: 12 May 2021

Date Written: May 6, 2021


With the amplified role of data in societies, the interfaces between trade and privacy protection have become multiple and intensified, and raise important questions as to adequate regulatory design that can reconcile economic and non-economic concerns, national and international interests. This article is set against this complex backdrop and seeks to provide a better understanding and contextualization of the theme of data protection and its interfaces with global trade law. It addresses this task by looking first at the existing international, transnational and selected national frameworks for privacy protection and briefly sketches their evolution over time. In a second step, the article explores the application of the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to situations where privacy concerns may be affected. The Article then looks at the data-relevant and data protection rules that have emerged in preferential trade venues with a focus on the reconciliation mechanisms that these treaties provide. The Article concludes with some thoughts on the pros and cons of the available legal solutions for reconciling trade and privacy protection and an outlook on this ever more contentious relationship and its possible resolution.

Keywords: privacy, data protection, GDPR, Privacy Shield, digital trade, data flows, WTO, free trade agreements

Suggested Citation

Burri, Mira, Interfacing Privacy and Trade (May 6, 2021). Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol. 53, 2021, 35-88, Available at SSRN:

Mira Burri (Contact Author)

University of Lucerne ( email )

Frohburgstrasse 3
PO Box 4466
Lucerne, 6002


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