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    Brazil's Chamber of E-commerce Promotes E-business


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2003

    Chambers of commerce can play active roles in promoting the use of information and communications technologies, as the example of the Brazilian Chamber of E-commerce - Camara-e.net - shows.

    Business associations around the world are now acting as catalysts, promoting the application of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to help modernize economic relations. A good example comes from Brazil, with the initiative of the Brazilian Chamber of E-commerce.

    Founded in 2001, Camara-e.net is the main multi-sector association of the Brazilian and Latin American digi-tal economy. Its objective is to foster ICTs as strategic tools for economic development and for the modernization of business relations at all levels.

    Camera-e.net's mission is to promote, position, represent and defend the collective interests of companies, associations and other players involved in e-business. Today, it has over 170 members representing a range of areas, from traditional consulting and legal offices to some of the world's largest telecommunications, hardware and software companies. Most of the country's Internet portals are members, as well as 80% of those involved in online retail.

    Building the base for advocacy

    The main asset that companies recognize in Camera-e.net is an engaging way to mobilize forces around key issues requiring consensus, such as regulatory and legal matters. Camara-e.net keeps up a proactive monitoring and interaction with the most important governmental agencies. It follows investments in electronic government across federal, state and municipal levels.

    In regulatory affairs, Camara-e.net helped lead the private sector to monitor and formulate regulatory initiatives such as the Managing Committee for the Brazilian Public Key Infrastructure, as well as the Electronic Business Bill and privacy and security bills. It has also led opposition to bills that do not support the advance of ICTs and development.

    Trade negotiations

    The Brazilian Chamber of E-commerce, on the invitation of Brazil's Foreign Ministry, represents the private sector in negotiations on e-commerce in the World Trade Organization, the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), the Free Trade Area of the Americas and other important forums. Since its creation, it has also organized commercial missions to France, Germany, India, Korea and the United States.

    Raising awareness

    Camera-e.net is very active in the area of generation of knowledge on e-business, through special committees, publications, events, seminars and other awareness-building exercises. For instance, it is a major promoter of the World Summit on the Information Society, as well as the representative for the Coordinating Committee of Business Interlocutors for all of Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Business development

    The Brazilian Chamber of E-commerce promotes and fosters business in innovative ways. One of its first actions was to create the movement "e-Brazil: Information Technology for Development", to formulate a national e-policy, in partnership with the Getúlio Vargas Foundation. The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio (Lula) da Silva, is strongly committed to overcoming poverty, and promoting Brazil's products and services internationally is one way of achieving this goal.

    To sum up, the Brazilian Chamber of E-commerce is helping to influence the present and future of e-commerce in Brazil and across Latin America and the Caribbean in effective, creative ways. This is a key way to promote business inclusion in the digital economy, focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises.

    Brazil's "e" potential

    Among developing countries, Brazil is already a leader in using "e" for trade. E-economy projections for 2005 include US$ 6.5 billion in business-to-consumer transactions; US$ 62.5 billion in business-to-business deals; and US$ 2 billion worth of e-services traded in the country.

    The world's seventh largest software producer, Brazil stands ready to expand its 1.3% share of the global software market. Already, it has increased software exports from under US$ 10 million in 1997 to nearly US$ 50 million in 2000 and to over US$ 200 million projected for 2005. This growth comes from 3,500 software companies, which generate over 180,000 direct jobs and many indirect jobs. While Brazilian software exports generate about US$ 100 million annually, this is less than 0.002% of the roughly US$ 55 billion exported by the country as a whole. Although these figures are still modest, the growth potential at 19% per year is very promising.

    Cid Torquato (cid.torquato@camara-e.net) is the Executive Director of Camara-e.net.For more information about the organization, visit their web site (http://www.camara-e.net).