The National Retail Federation and EuroCommerce announced an agreement to work together in developing a common approach on implementing new EU data protection regulations.

“Today’s successful discussions between U.S. and European retailers have resulted in an agreement to work together on a unified retail industry approach to implementation of the new EU regulations on protecting personal data,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “This cooperative effort will help retailers on both sides of the Atlantic prepare their businesses for implementation of the regulations with a retail-specific approach that continues the seamless operations and personalized shopping experiences our customers expect.”

EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren welcomed the cooperation with NRF and the agreement.

“We are delighted to have been able to cement our already close relationship with NRF with this agreement,” Verschueren said. “Consumers want confidence that their data is being treated with care and protected by those holding it. By working together, we are looking to ensure that we can implement the regulations in a way which serves all of our customers’ interests. We hope that our transatlantic cooperation can pave the way for a global approach that serves both the privacy concerns of citizens and the competitiveness of industry.”

The General Data Protection Regulation, adopted by the European Parliament and Council in April 2016, sets out changes to almost every area of customer data processing. Once the GDPR comes into force in May 2018, retailers with storefronts, websites, mobile apps or other digital platforms serving customers will face new compliance standards, additional administrative burdens and liability for violations as well as more stringent enforcement penalties.

The agreement came during the first of two days of meetings in Brussels between NRF and EuroCommerce member companies, U.S. government and EU officials, European-based retailers and EuroCommerce on a range of issues impacting the retail industry. Topics included data portability, consumers’ “right to erasure” under the GDPR to have their data removed, gaining data subjects’ consent, profiling and dealing with data breaches. EuroCommerce and NRF held a similar meeting last year to address issues of common concern to retailers on both sides of the Atlantic.