Japan leads G20 countries in the ease of cross-border data flows, a new Salesforce commissioned study titled “Data Beyond Borders.” has found. The United States is ranked second, followed by the United Kingdom and European Union which are jointly third.
The report findings come as G20 leaders are set to meet in Osaka, Japan later this week, and following calls from Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, for the creation of the Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) framework for cross-border data sharing.
Earlier this month, G20 Trade and Digital Economy Ministers issued the G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy, reaffirming that “cross-border flow of data, information, ideas and knowledge generates higher productivity, greater innovation, and improved sustainable development.”
The report examines and compares the openness of G20 economies in regard to the flow of data across borders, and the Cross-Border Data Flows Index (CBDFI) has been developed to provide a benchmark performance assessment of G20 economies’ approach to cross-border data flows, as well as its impact on economic growth and opportunity.
“Cross-border data flows are lifeblood for the global economy, and for GDP of national economies. When data flows, the economy grows,” said Eric Loeb, EVP, Government Affairs, Salesforce. “G20 economies have much to gain from exploring ambitious approaches to cross-border data flows, and much to lose if they use unnecessary market barriers or protectionist policies.”
McKinsey estimates that global data flows account for 3 percent of global GDP output, the equivalent of US$2.3 trillion. 
The report found that the Japanese government has taken concrete steps to create a regulatory environment that both enables and protects the free flow of data across boundaries. This regulatory balance ensures that the data that moves internationally and across borders is strengthened – not hindered – by the regulatory safeguards designed to keep it safe.
See the infographic below, which includes recommendations to further improve the free flow of cross-border data.