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The Federal Trade Commission welcomed the approval of the United States' participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Cross-Border Privacy Rules system, which was announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce today. The APEC privacy system is a self-regulatory initiative to enhance the protection of consumer data that moves between the United States and other APEC members through a voluntary but enforceable code of conduct implemented by participating businesses. President Obama and representatives from the other APEC economies endorsed the system in November 2011. On July 25, the United States was approved as the first formal participant in the system and the FTC as the system's first privacy enforcement authority.

FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez, who has been active in the FTC effort within APEC, applauded the development on behalf of the agency. "The APEC privacy rules offer the promise of significant benefits to companies, consumers and privacy regulators, and the FTC is pleased to be the first privacy enforcement authority in the Cross-Border Privacy Rules system," Ramirez said. "We hope that many more APEC economies will soon join and help realize the system's potential as a model for global interoperability among privacy regimes."

The FTC, the Department of Commerce, U.S. corporations, and privacy advocacy organizations worked together with their counterparts in other APEC economies to formulate the APEC privacy rules. In addition to the United States, the 21 APEC members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Additional information about the Cross Border Privacy Rules is available via the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group website.

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