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Quick action brings conference to WA

A quick response earned WA the right to host the inaugural World E-Com Conference.

The electronic commerce conference will be held from 8 to 10 November at the Burswood Resort.

Between 100 and 200 delegates are expected at the conference.

Conference promoter David Rose said it was important the conference be truly global.

“It is a natural progression of the inter-governmental briefings that have developed over the past two or three years,” Mr Rose said.

These conferences have involved the United Nations Committee for International Trade Law, the Organ-isation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Trade Organisation.

“These organisations said they had to have a government to host the conference or they couldn’t take part,” Mr Rose said.

“The conference couldn’t be held in the US or Europe because then it would be seen as a US or European conference.

“It had to be held where it would be seen as a global event.”

Australia was chosen as the venue and the States and Territories were given a chance to bid for hosting the conference.

The government of the State or Territory had to cover the cost of the venue, flying in the speakers and Mr Rose’s fee for promoting the event.

Mr Rose said the WA Government responded in just six weeks – even though two of those weeks fell in the Christmas break.

“I thought for a while Canberra was going to latch on but WA got in first,” he said.

“This is a unique opportunity for Perth. It probably won’t be back here for another ten years.”

The 2000 World E-Com conference will take place in a city in the northern hemisphere. As yet, that city has not been named.

“The conference is designed to get government and business together,” Mr Rose said.

“Decisions are being made now on tax, common standards and customer security.

“If businesspeople don’t wade through the OECD stuff, they won’t know about it until they transgress the new rules.

“And a global e-commerce tax is bound to emerge.

“For example, an Australian

company could build products in Canada and sell them through a US agent to customers in the UK.

“Who gets the tax dollars? By rights, each country could take something off the top but nobody wants that.”

Mr Rose said a global tax was being devised now.

“I believe it will be based on a GST,” he said.

“But which country down the track will get the dollars?

“If the tax is down to where the server is put, nobody will put servers where they are likely to draw tax. The Cayman Islands could clean up.”

Mr Rose said British Airways would be unveiling its e-commerce plans. The airline is working towards turning its entire business model over to e-commerce.

“They believe travel agents could be eliminated,” Mr Rose said.

US Federal Trade Commission commissioner Mozelle Thompson will be telling delegates why the US ‘hands off’ regulatory policy should be adopted as a global e-commerce model.

European Commission Director DG XIII Frans de Bruine will outline the e-commerce strategy for the world’s newest economic bloc.

OECD director Risaburo Nezu will present the world’s first government to business debrief on the happenings of the inter-governmental e-commerce meeting in Paris in October.

Hartley Poynton chief executive Tim Moore will explain the lessons learned from his company’s consultation to the successful quicken.com site, while Federal Attorney General Daryl Williams will be outlining what Australia can expect in terms of e-commerce law.

UNICTRAL secretary Gerold Herrman will discuss the motivations behind the UN’s e-commerce law model which is being used as a template for e-commerce legislation in a number of countries.

WTO director David Hartridge will explain how the organisation is responding to the challenges to international trade law being presented by e-commerce’s rapid growth.

Other speakers include International Commerce Exchange chairman Nick Mansfield, World Intellectual Property Organisation electronic commerce consultant Shira Perlmutter and Canadian Federal Government assistant minister Grant Westcott.

Mr Rose said the conference web site, developed by WA-based Pretzel Logic, had received tremendous praise.

“Wired Magazine said it was the best conference site it had ever encountered,” he said.

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