Australia's Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, welcomed government officials, business and nonprofit leaders to the second APEC Data Privacy Seminar that is looking at how APEC members will cooperate to build confidence in an accountable system for personal information moving across the Asia-Pacific region.
Delegates paid particular attention to pilot projects that test how to best protect the transfer of personal information within the Asia-Pacific region while minimising further regulatory burdens on business.
A webcast of Mr. Ruddock's comments to the symposium is available for download. 
Mr. Ruddock said consumers and businesses in the region will benefit from pilot initiatives that strengthen privacy at a very personal level.
"Protecting personal information is a key to maintaining consumer confidence, consumer trust and ultimately the business bottom-line," Mr. Ruddock said.
"A system that effectively protects personal information during global data transfers will encourage the growth of e-commerce. That growth facilitates trade; particularly online trade in goods and services."
Mr. Ruddock was speaking to APEC delegates at the opening of the seminar, which follows the first APEC Data Privacy Seminar held in Canberra in January.
"The future prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region relies on having an accountable system that ensures privacy protections for personal information, regardless of where in the region that personal information is located," Mr. Ruddock said.
Privacy Commissioners from some APEC member economies also discussed how regulators can work together, given the limitations on their capacity to cooperate across borders, and what changes might be required to facilitate cross-border cooperative arrangements.
Australia's Privacy Commissioner, Karen Curtis, said, "Cross-border cooperative arrangements will be the cornerstone for this success.
"Now, we are at a stage to consider how these cooperative arrangements should be put in place and how compliance with cross-border privacy rules is going to be assessed and enforced.
"Underpinning this success is the ability of regulators to share best practices and resources to cooperate and coordinate with investigations and enforcement. This will build trust for consumers and help business," said Ms. Curtis.
Also speaking at the seminar, Hong Kong, China's Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Roderick Woo, said he could see the value of the seminar for the broader APEC region.
"Hong Kong endorses, not only the letter, but also the spirit of the APEC Privacy Framework and I hope that changes in the law will create more sharing opportunities for data privacy regulators across the APEC region," Mr. Woo said at the seminar.
The Data Privacy Seminar was hosted by the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG) and held in association with the Senior Officials and related meetings that are taking place in Cairns on June 22-July 3.

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