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EU Commission Launches E-Commerce Consultation

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

18 September 2003

The European Commission has announced the launch of an eight-week consultation exercise focusing on the barriers to e-commerce within the Union, with a particular focus on the legal obstacles encountered by firms carrying on cross border trade, such as different national legal treatment of online and offline business or electronic invoicing.

The consultation is open to all types of enterprise until November 7 2003 and the findings are due to be discussed at a conference in March or April 2004.

Commenting on the exercise, Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said: "The EU legal framework for e-business is well and widely established. It's now time to take stock of remaining barriers and decide how to remove them. This discussion should be based on practical examples and experience, not just on theoretical views of what may go wrong."

The consultation on legal barriers in e-business is addressed to enterprises taking part in e-business and experienced in doing business online. Business associations, chambers of commerce and other interested parties are invited to inform their members about the consultation and to provide the Commission - by e-mail - with their general opinion on the existing legal framework for e-business in the European Union and the Acceding Countries. All comments will be duly taken into account, in assessing what has been achieved so far and in which areas further progress is still needed to establish a favourable environment for e-business in Europe.

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