Simpson looks for industry to lead, govts to follow on e-commerce

Aoraki CEO Gil Simpson is says he is delighted at the willingness of the US, Japanese and European Union governments to be part of an IT industry self-regulation initiative floated at a Paris conference last month .

Aoraki CEO Gil Simpson is says he is delighted at the willingness of the US, Japanese and European Union governments to be part of a process where the IT industry would design self-regulations for e-commerce and governments would then create a legislative environment to support it.

Simpson was the only New Zealander invited to a Paris conference last month, under the banner of the Global Business Dialogue on e-commerce.

The goal of the initiative is to prevent a situation in which local governments create a patchwork of conflicting policies and laws that could create obstacles to the emerging online economy.

Simpson says the conference included the heads of EDS and Time Warner, the US Secretary of Commerce, the Canadian Minister of Trade and Industry and his European Union counterpart.

"Governments are looking to create a legislative environment to support self-regulation," he says. "Normal inter-government processes can't keep up, and industry is frightened that governments will make unworkable rules."

Though only the US, Japan and the Europeans were represented at governmental level at the conference, he says if these three economic power houses can agree, the rest of the world will fall into line.

"These governments are pleased to see it can be sorted out. It was all very positive. These are very real issues."

The GBDe has identified nine issues, including taxation and tariffs, intellectual property rights, consumer confidence, and authentication and security. Working parties within the GBDe presented papers on each of the issues.

Simpson says it was "a most rewarding experience".

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