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So "forging its own path as an ambitious trading partner" means following a parallel path to the EU on data. Of course following a parallel path to the EU does not necessarily mean that this path will remain connected to their path. As the Statement acknowledges this, as with everything else, is up for negotiation.

The lessons from this? 

1: respond to consultations and lobby- it seems to be necessary even on things that might seem obvious to your business (you cannot expect civil servants and politicians to understand your World unless you explain it to them in their language because they do not live in your World and many never have lived in it); and

2: don't stop - this is only a Bill and it has to go through what is now a very unpredictable legislative process; and

3: you and your IT director still need to have the budget and the plans in place to be compliant in your next financial year - however, on the upside, it is looking more likely that what you put in place for May 2018 may not need to be changed significantly 9 months later :-)

Source.
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