Internet CEOs To Advance E-Commerce at G8 Summit

The world’s leading chief executive officers are calling on the G8 heads of government to advance a comprehensive approach on e-commerce and information technology at the G8’s July summit in Okinawa.

In a letter to the leaders of the world’s eight major industrial countries, the G8, the Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce (GBDe) committed to playing a role in global e-commerce policymaking at the upcoming conference. Members of the GBDe include America Online (AOL), Time Warner, Sharp Corporation, the Walt Disney Company, and Hewlett-Packard.

Ready to Advise

Steve Case, CEO of AOL and co-chairman of GBDe, said, “The upcoming G8 summit provides an enormous opportunity to extend the economic and social benefits of electronic commerce to all people and to all nations.”

He added, “Our member companies have had meetings on every continent with government leaders, including the G8, to provide expertise and advice on how best to achieve a greater penetration and better balance of e-commerce developments globally. The G8 summit is a time to move the process even further down the road.”

The member countries of the G8 are France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, and Russia.

What They Want

In its letter the GBDe said, “The explosive growth of the Internet and related information technologies is yielding enormous economic benefits in terms of higher economic growth rates, productivity gains and new job creation. As a social force, the medium is linking people across geographic and socioeconomic boundaries, creating new opportunities for learning and empowering governments to more effectively deliver public services to their citizens.”

The letter went on to ask the G8 to focus on the following critical areas:

Build greater global understanding of the importance of the Internet in promoting not only economic goals, but in broadening a country’s ability to advance its social and political agenda as well.

Demonstrate G8 leadership in embracing information technology by securing a commitment on the part of the G-8 countries to put in place the policy and regulatory environment to ensure that the medium can be available to consumers and businesses anywhere in the world.

Develop a comprehensive digital opportunities program, involving all stakeholders, to ensure that every country can take advantage of the new digital opportunity afforded by the Internet and information technology

Secure a commitment of the G8 countries to launch a public-private program to address the important issue of cyber crime and cyber security. Cobus Stofberg, CEO of MIH Group, said, “The G8 meeting in Okinawa provides a unique opportunity to begin to articulate a plan of action to help bring the enormous potential of e-commerce and information technology to all countries.”

What They Promise

The GBDe has been working with governments around the world to develop a consistent set of public policies on major e-commerce issues that will encourage the continued robust growth of the Internet, and extend its benefits to consumers and citizens everywhere.

In its letter, the organization said that it recognizing that success will require sustained private sector leadership and involvement. The group promised that it would expand efforts to connect individual users around the world and develop a legal framework to ensure the full growth of the Internet.

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