According to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), the plans were discussed at a public forum in Washington DC by Brad Wiegmann, a senior Justice Department official, who said the first agreement was being worked out with the UK.
The news comes a few days after Microsoft won a landmark case to prevent the US government from using a domestic warrant to gain access to the email data of one of its clients which was stored in Ireland. The US had claimed the data was relevant to a drug-trafficking operation.
The report said that while the Justice Department had indicated it was considering an appeal, the decision could influence other companies to route customer data away from the US, to prevent American authorities from sharing the data with other governments in criminal and terrorism investigations.
Any such deals would work both ways: US investigators would be able to search data in other countries by going directly to the providers.
Wiegmann was reported as saying that the US would sign such agreements only with countries that have protections for civil liberties that ensure search orders are not abused.
"These agreements will not be for everyone. There will be countries that don’t meet the standards," he was quoted as saying.