RealTime IT News

Politicians, Tech Chiefs Examine Future of E-Commerce

Political leaders came together with executives from the nation's top technology companies Monday to toast electronic commerce and discuss ways to build on the Internet's strong growth.

American and Australian leaders also agreed to undertake new efforts to support e-commerce in both nations. The two countries plan an ongoing dialogue on e-commerce issues.

President Clinton said the steps political leaders take today will have a big impact on e-commerce going forward.

"I think the first thing we have to do is to stay with the economic policies that have worked for the past six years: fiscal discipline, expanding trade, investing in education and research and development. I think we have to do more work here at home to expand the benefits of the economic recovery to areas and people who have not yet felt it and I think the Internet has an enormous role to play there," he said.

He said all Americans must commit themselves to taking advantage of technology, which he called the engine of tomorrow's economy. He said the government will help by avoiding intrusive regulation.

"We will do nothing that undermines the capacity of emerging technologies to lift the lives of ordinary Americans... and we will help to create an environment which will enhance the likehihood of success. That is what we are fundamentally celebrating today and committing ourselves to for tommorrow," Clinton said.

Clinton said the agreements by the United Sates and 132 other nations to not impose customs duties on electronic commerce, combined with a three-year moratorium on new Internet taxes, show that governments around the world are serious about e-commerce.

Australia is the latest country to jump on the e-commerce bandwagon. The United States and Australia Monday formally agreed to jointly develop e-commerce in both nations and promote policies that will benefit consumers and businesses.

Australia joined the United States Monday in supporting the indefinite extension of the World Trade Organization's May declaration to not impose customs duties on electronic transactions.

Both governments also pledged to support industry efforts to ensure privacy in electronic commerce activities.

Clinton will also ask Commerce Secretary William Daley to work with the Federal Trade Commission to ensure consumer protection is extended to the Web.

"We must give consumers the same protection in our virtual mall they now get at the shopping mall. And if the virtual mall is to grow, we must help small businesses and families gain access to the same services at the same speed that big business enjoys," he said.

The comments of Clinton and other political leaders appear to have been music to the ears of Silicon Valley CEOs.

Among those applauding was John Chambers, Chief Executive Officer of Cisco Systems Inc. Cisco's Web site generates millions of dollars in sales daily.

"President Clinton and Vice President Gore have shown remarkable leadership building an Internet economy that is reshaping the fortunes of countries, companies and people.

"With Internet leaders and governments working hand in hand, America can look to a bright horizon filled with hope. To achieve that, government and business leaders, teachers and parents must accept the challenge to give everyone access to the Internet and a quality education," Chambers said.