The European Commission and the US Department of Commerce are setting up an informal dialogue investigating differences in their data protection policies, and any problems these may cause.
The EU's data protection directive, which comes into force on 25 October, says that transfers of data should only be made to non-EU countries that have adequate levels of protection for personal data.
"There is full agreement between the two sides on the need to establish high standards of data protection while maintaining the free flow of personal data between the EU and the US," the EC said.
The talks were proposed by John Mogg, director general of the EC's internal market directorate, and US undersecretary of commerce David Aaron.
The two have agreed a work programme for the next few months involving other EC departments and US agencies, ahead of a further Mogg/Aaron meeting in Washington in second half of June.
Mogg said last month in a speech in Washington that some progress had been made in the US to meet the EU's data protection demands, including a code of conduct by the online research service industry.
In the speech, Mogg welcomed this code and said a broader range of electronic commerce sectors should follow the lead.
He also welcomed proposals in the Congress to protect medical data, in whatever sector this was processed.
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