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Clinton Memorandum to Heads of Executive Depts. and Agencies.
Re: Electronic Commerce.

Date: November 30, 1998.
Source: White House Press Office.

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
November 30, 1998

November 30, 1998


SUBJECT: Successes and Further Work on Electronic Commerce

The Internet and electronic commerce have the potential to transform the world economy. The United States Government is committed to a market-driven policy architecture that will allow the new digital economy to flourish while at the same time protecting citizens' rights and freedoms.

Today my Administration has released a report that details the significant progress made on the implementation of my Directive on Electronic Commerce of July 1, 1997, and its accompanying policy statement, "A Framework for Global Electronic Commerce." The electronic commerce working group that has coordinated the United States Government's electronic commerce strategy has accomplished a great deal. I am proud of its significant achievements. Governments and private sector organizations around the world now recognize the importance of the Internet and electronic commerce and the viability of the approaches contained in the 1997 report as a means of ensuring future economic success. I am optimistic that the progress realized to date will be continued during the next year.

In order to complete implementation of my July 1, 1997, directive by January 1, 2000, I direct that work continue in the 13 areas listed therein.

In addition, new areas have emerged during the past year that deserve particular attention. To ensure progress in these areas, I hereby direct as follows:

Section 1. The Secretary of Commerce, in appropriate consultation with the Federal Communications Commission, shall encourage the deployment of advanced telecommunications capabilities for all Americans while preserving the vibrant and competitive free market that exists for the Internet and other interactive computer services. These agencies shall work with the Office of the United States Trade Representative to help ensure the elimination of foreign trade barriers to the deployment of advanced telecommunications capabilities.

Sec. 2. The Secretary of Commerce, in appropriate consultation with the Federal Trade Commission and other relevant agencies, shall foster consumer confidence in electronic commerce by working to ensure effective consumer protection online. This shall include exploring opportunities for global cooperation to enforce consumer protection laws and facilitating partnerships between industry and consumer [begin page 2] advocates to develop redress mechanisms for online consumers. These agencies shall work with the Office of the United States Trade Representative to help avoid the creation of foreign trade barriers while protecting the interests of consumers.

Sec. 3. The Secretary of State, in appropriate cooperation with the Agency for International Development, the Secretary of Commerce, the Federal Communications Commission, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and other relevant agencies, shall initiate a program to help accelerate the spread of the Internet and electronic commerce to developing countries. This shall include a demonstration of successful models for development in a small number of interested countries and should highlight and create incentives for public/private sector partnerships to serve as a catalyst for successful private action. The Secretary of State should seek the cooperation of the World Bank and other multilateral organizations in initiating this program.

Sec. 4. The Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, in appropriate consultation with the Secretaries of Commerce, the Treasury, Labor, and other relevant agency heads, shall analyze the economic impact of the Internet and electronic commerce in the United States and internationally. This shall include convening a conference of experts from the public and private sectors to assess the impact of investments in information technology and the influences of electronic commerce and related technologies on the economy. These experts shall consider new indicators for the information economy, new types of data collection, and new research that could be undertaken by organizations in the public and private sectors. To broaden public understanding of the impact of electronic commerce, the Department of Commerce shall publish a follow-up report to the "Emerging Digital Economy" report it issued this year.

Sec. 5. The Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration shall develop strategies to help small businesses overcome barriers to the use of the Internet and electronic commerce. The initiative shall consider the need to train Federal Government employees who have contact with small businesses on the use of the Internet and electronic commerce; identify commonly used Government products and forms that should be moved to the Internet to enable small business to use the Internet to interact with the Government; and develop an outreach plan to enhance electronic access to information and services that can assist small businesses' development using the Internet and electronic commerce.

Sec. 6. The directives in sections 1-5 of this memorandum and my July 1, 1997, directive shall be conducted subject to the availability of appropriations and consistent with the agencies' priorities and my budget.

Sec. 7. The Vice President shall continue his leadership in coordinating the United States Government's electronic commerce strategy. Further, I direct that heads of executive departments and agencies report to the Vice President and me through the Electronic Commerce Working Group in 1 year on their progress in meeting the goals of the July 1, 1997, directive as well as their accomplishments under this memorandum.



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