E-commerce self-regulation urged

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Multinational executives are calling on governments worldwide to take a hands-off approach on regulating e-commerce and online advertising. The call for business-led self-regulation was made in Paris at a meeting of the Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce, or GBDe, an international forum that aims to reach an industry consensus on how to regulate e-commerce. The forum opposes any efforts to apply domestic legislation to foreign-sourced commercial communications content, essentially advertising and marketing. "Companies would forgo online, cross-border sales'' if they were obliged to conform to legislation in each country of destination, warned Sanford Litvack, senior exec VP-chief of corporate operations for Walt Disney Co. The main message of the GBDe initiative, said Thomas Middelhoff, chairman-CEO of Germany's Bertelsmann, is that "electronic commerce can only function if there are global standards,'' but "nothing will slow the development of electronic commerce more than a patchwork of conflicting rules established at the national level.''

Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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