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New E-Commerce Act Re-Affirms Manx Ambitions To Be Leading E-Business Centre

Robert Lee, Tax-news.com, London

22 November 2000


The Isle of Man is making a serious play for the title of leading e-commerce jurisdiction. The island has a newly-appointed e-evoy, who at the beginning of this month announced plans to establish a private sector liaison committee as part of a programme to promote the Island's e-commerce activities, and a cable loop with Nothern Ireland and the UK - seen as a 'major step forward in establishing the Isle of Man as the leading e-island in the world.' Last week, the Isle of Man got down to the finer points of e-commerce, holding an InvisiMail seminar on the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) 2000.

The seminar, which drew representatives from right across the Manx business spectrum, was sponsored by the island’s Department of Trade and Industry. InvisiMail (IOM) Ltd, which was also represented, designs and develops security and digital signature software. Government Minister David North opened proceedings by emphasising the importance of the establishment of a cutting edge e-commerce infrastructure in the Isle of Man. Mr North said that while the island was clearly not alone in recognising the importance of e-commerce it was the first to take action with the introduction of the new act.

The Isle of Man government enacted the new act, ETA 2000, on November 1. Its purpose is to legalise electronic transactions for business. The key part of this legislation is the ability to attribute the same legal status to electronic document as their paper based counterparts, when secure digital signatures are used.

The purpose of last week's seminar was to provide an educational forum on the Act and the enabling technologies and processes in order to increase the awareness of the opportunities it makes available. It focused on what the ETA 2000 means, what impact it will have on Manx businesses and what opportunities the Act creates.

Tim Craine, the Isle of Man's recently appointed E-Commerce Director, also attended the seminar and described his role and main areas of responsibility. He focused on the readiness of the Isle of Man to accommodate e-business in terms of physical connectivity, technical resources, financial environment and how the Act was a major step in facilitating this.

Policy Advisor at the island's Financial Supervision Commission, Roxanne Oldham, told the seminar about the on-going work related to compliance with international regulatory standards that will ensure that the Isle of Man remains a “clean” jurisdiction, and the new challenges and opportunities that e-commerce and e-transactions will bring.

Mr North of the Manx government closed the seminar by stressing that the administration has produced legislation that enables e-commerce, and that it was now incumbent upon the commercial sector to capitalize on this ground-breaking opportunity: 'The ETA is NOW!' he said.

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