NEWS13 July 2018

Marketing industry welcomes Brexit data proposal but concerns remain

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UK – The advertising and marketing industry has welcomed the government’s Brexit white paper’s stance on data, but highlighted concerns over the end of free movement and the priority of goods over services.

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The government is not seeking membership of the single market but will look to maintain continued data flow between the UK and countries in the EU, according to the Brexit white paper published yesterday ( 12 July).  

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association, said: "There are some positive signals in this white paper but also some areas for concern where more detail is urgently required. We welcome the positive proposals on data protection. Cross-border data flows are essential to a healthy advertising ecosystem which is increasingly digital and global in nature."

However, Woodford expressed concerns over the end of free movement, which he said would pose a threat to British advertising’s international position. "UK advertising will still be able to thrive with the right immigration system in place, but we need to see more detailed proposals for a flexible migration system that allows us to hire the brightest and best from around the world to work alongside home-grown talent. So, we need government to develop a meaningful proposal that will work for our industry."

He also urged the government to provide clarity on the fact that the ‘country of origin’ principle will no longer apply to UK broadcasters, adding that additional detail is required "as a matter of urgency" to effectively plan for the future.

Addressing the paper’s proposal to create a free trade area for goods, Jane Frost, chief executive of the Market Research Society (MRS) expressed concern. She said: "We’re disappointed to see that the government’s white paper prioritises the trade of goods over services, particularly as services make up 80% of the UK economy.  The UK is home to the second largest market research sector in the world, employing close to 73,000 people and worth £4.8bn. Up to £2bn of this is generated by exports, so the quality of our trading relationships with the EU is critical. 

"As such, it is essential that provisions are made for when we leave the EU to enable our members’ continued participation in the global marketplace."

The DMA also welcomed the government’s position on the free flow of data between the UK and the EU but urged continued regulatory cooperation. Chief executive Chris Combemale said: "We have consistently advocated for a robust UK-EU deal on data protection that would ensure organisations could exchange data freely, much as they do now. This must include continued close cooperation between the ICO and EU data authorities in addition to regulatory alignment.

He added: "It’s reassuring to see the UK government have listened to the concerns of our industry and is proposing a way forward that will enable the UK to remain a world leader."

Phil Smith, director general at ISBA, said: "We are encouraged to see an increased focus on the issue of data equivalency post-Brexit and the acknowledgement of the need to provide the earliest possible reassurance that data flows can continue. This is a key concern to ISBA and our members and we look forward to continuing to work with DDCMS as this process evolves."