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

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.

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