International Electronic Commerce:

Definitions and Policy Implications

GAO-02-404: Published: Mar 1, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 2002.

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The recent, rapid growth in Internet-based computer technologies has significant implications for the United States. The ability to conduct business via the Internet has brought about changes in the way companies do business with each other and in how they interact with consumers. The Internet allows businesses and consumers from different countries to interact as easily as if they were physically close to each other. This borderless aspect of international electronic commerce creates a wider marketplace that facilitates new transactions and business relationships. However, the potential for widespread adoption of international electronic commerce raises questions from the technical to the policy-related. This report provides information on emerging electronic commerce issues, including: (1) what is being done to remove obstacles and facilitate international electronic commerce, (2) efforts to adopt a legal framework for international electronic commerce transactions, and (3) how international trade agreements and negotiations address barriers to international electronic commerce.

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