2005 (1) Tbilisi - Electronic Commerce
Note: This policy statement was issued on the 27th of October 2005 during the 70th CACCI General Council Meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia.
1. Electronic commerce is an increasingly important means of doing business, both within and across national borders.
2. A growing share of consumer, and business, purchasing decisions of goods and services are being made using electronic commerce platforms such as the Internet: consumers in seeking information; business in advertising and marketing; both in ordering and purchasing; and, business in delivering the product or service.
3. Electronic commerce can usefully facilitate cross-border trade by enhancing the value to consumers by offering products and services which are competitively priced and bring the producer and the consumer closer together, thus improving market information, promoting competition in markets, and lowering prices to consumers, whether business or householders.
4. For exporters of goods, electronic commerce can facilitate trade by acting as a platform for advertising and marketing, and the organisation of the delivery of product to the purchaser, whether a business or an individual.
5. Electronic commerce can also facilitate the trade in goods by promoting the simplification and the transparency of customs and other border control procedures, helping to ensure traded goods are able to move more efficiently and safely between nations and across borders.
6. Simplification and transparency could usefully include: promoting publication and on-line availability of customs and other border control information; expanding usage of paperless trading processes to reduce inefficiencies associated with paper documentation; encouraging the application and expansion of advance consignment clearance practices, especially for time sensitive products; and, stimulating the take-up of risk management techniques by border control agencies.
7. Electronic commerce is particularly important for suppliers of services that can be delivered in digital form using information technologies. Prominent examples include: educational services; information/library services; legal services; medical advice; entertainment, such as film and music; accounting, business and financial services; and, architectural and engineering services.
8. Developed, developing and transitional economies can all compete in this global marketplace for the cross-border supply of services: CACCI notes the rise of India, in particular, as a major player in the international outsourcing of digitable and tradeable services.
9. However, creating and retaining competitive advantage requires rigorous systems of information technology infrastructure – both ‘hard infrastructure’ in terms of robust physical communications systems, and ‘soft infrastructure’ in terms of suitable regulatory regimes.
10. Governments are called upon to promote the development of electronic commerce by inter-alia taking the following measures:
a. Provide a sufficient, consistent, and transparent legal framework, as well as appropriate standards, rules and regulations for implementation;
b. Develop physical and social infrastructure conducive to Ecommerce development. This would include promotion of both hardware and software industries, and assistance to SMEs. In this respect, the role of public-private partnership is increasingly important.
c. Develop training in related technology fields as well as language training, especially for SMEs;
d. Disseminate information about recent developments both domestic and international; and
e. Alleviate potential drawbacks arising out of E commerce, such as assuring the protection of consumers’ data.
11. The private sector must continue to be the leading player in the development of E commerce. The private sector should pursue, inter alia, such measures as follows:
a. Promote investment and R&D for development of both hard and software infrastructure;
b. Provide inputs to governments for appropriate laws, regulations, and standards;
c. Promote training and exchange of information.
12. In addition to the preceding paragraph, chambers of commerce could assist SMEs by such measures as:
a. Promote training in technology and language skills for their members;
b. Create a national internet network for members as well as facilitating networking with other CACCI members;
c. Recommend to governments appropriate proposals for the regulatory framework.
13. CACCI firmly believes the facilitation of cross border trade will be greatly enhanced by maintaining minimal standard and proactive approaches to regulation, and continuing to observe commitments made during the Geneva WTO Ministerial in 1998 not to apply duties to electronically traded goods and services.
14. Developed countries can assist developing countries to better access the global electronic marketplace through more liberal access to their markets, and targeted aid programs that help developing countries build their capacities, especially in English language training (the lingua franca of the Internet) and the creation of essential infrastructures.
15. National consumer protection, digital signature and electronic transaction laws are integral to building confidence in electronic commerce as a means for facilitating cross-border trade and commerce. CACCI believes global best-practice guidance could usefully be developed through appropriate multilateral consultative processes, taking into account the capacities and needs of all parties.
16. This Statement should be read in conjunction with the CACCI Statement on Electronic Commerce, issued from the 18th CACCI Conference held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam between 30 November and 1 December 2000.