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    E-Tr@de Briefs

     

     
     
    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001 

    The next WTO ministerial conference takes place in Doha, Qatar, from 9-13 November 2001. The work programmes of all major international agencies which play a role in shaping the future of e-commerce policies and infrastructures will be looking to this event as a key date in the 2001 calendar. In addition, the member governments of the Group of Eight (G8) will meet again in Genoa, Italy, in July to discuss, among other things, the progress made towards realizing the global information society.

    The sheer volume of freely available information related to the development of e-commerce is daunting. Here is a brief look at upcoming events, web sites you should bookmark for ongoing reference, and other bits and bytes to keep you abreast of developments in e-facilitated trade.

    Organizations

    DOTforce
    The Digital Opportunity Task Force was established at the G8 Summit in Okinawa, Japan, in July 2000 and convened its first meeting on 27-28 November in Tokyo. The task force will examine concrete steps to bridge the international digital divide and will prepare a report for the G8 Summit to be held in Genoa, Italy, from 20-22 July 2001. To find out more, visit the DOTforce web site at http://www.dotforce.org/ The Canadian and United Kingdom DOTforce consultation sites are also excellent for understanding the work of the group and its potential impact on developing countries. See Canada DOTforce at http://www.bellanet.org/dotforce/ and the United Kingdom site at http://dotforce.oneworld.net/ 

    WTO
    The World Trade Organization (WTO) is responsible for establishing agreements which impact upon electronically mediated trade. The WTO work programme in electronic commerce cuts across the work of the following WTO sections: the Council for Trade in Services; the Council for Trade in Goods; the Council for TRIPS; and the Committee on Trade and Development. To find out how the WTO approaches its work in e-commerce, see http://www.wto.org/ then go to trade topics, electronic commerce.

    OECD
    Anyone seriously interested in e-commerce and the issues facing small and medium-sized companies in developing countries will turn to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) site at some stage. The site is large but don't be put off. You will see the e-commerce reference in the toolbar on the first page of the site http://www.oecd.org/ Take a look at the document E-Commerce for Development: Prospects and Policy Issues as a good jumping-off point.

    Events 

    E-Commerce, Law and Arbitration
    Tunis, Tunisia, 26-28 April 2001. International conference organized jointly by the Tunisian Mediation and Arbitration Centre (CCAT) and Juris International, a partnership between the ITC and the Universities of Montreal and Nancy.

    The three-day event focuses on legal aspects of e-commerce, including contracting, advertising, consumer protection, customs and taxation issues and dispute resolution. Parallel to the conference, two specialized forums will be organized respectively for new entrepreneurs and arbitrators.

    For more information, contact Mr. A. Bahi, President, Centre de Conciliation et d'Arbitrage de Tunis, 8, rue du Nigeria, Tunis, Tunisia. Tel: 216 1 849 695, fax: 216 1 796 192, e-mail: ccat@gnet.tn 

    E-Commerce for Development
    4-5 May 2001. The OECD Development Centre and the University of Bologna are organizing a workshop on e-commerce for development to learn more about developing country experiences from South Africa, Brazil, India and Bangladesh.

    ITC will be contributing to this forum and summaries of the proceedings will be posted on the OECD Development Centre web site http://www.oecd.org.dev/ For more information, contact David O'Connor at the OECD. E-mail: david.oconnor@oecd.org 

    E-Services for Trade, Investment and Enterprise
    11-12 June 2001. This two-day forum hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) will examine the services sector and its impact on transition economies. The outcome of the forum will be a practical programme to promote trade in e-services. The second day of the event will feature a joint presentation by ITC/UNECE entitled "Successful Services Exporting". Service companies, policy-makers and potential investors are all welcome. For more help, see the UNECE web site (http://www.unece.org/trade/forums/forum01/index.htm) or contact Doreen Conrad at ITC on conrad@intracen.org 

    Networks 

    The Digital Divide Network
    This is a well-designed site covering the issues associated with the growing gap between the information "haves" and "have nots". The site demonstrates who the actors are in the debate from the private-, public- and not-for-profit sectors. The Benton Foundation is the producer and coordinator of the site. http://www.digitaldividenetwork.org/ 

    Global Knowledge Partnership
    For a broader perspective on electronic trade and the role of information in shaping society turn to this site hosted by the World Bank Institute. You will find topics such as African Women and Economic Development and ICT, Jobs and Work. Join a list and take part in the debate. http://www.globalknowledge.org/discussion.html 

    John Gillies, Training Officer, ITC, can be contacted at gillies@intracen.org 



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