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Ottawa, 16 December 1999
14075/99 (Presse 420)


Subject :



The European Union and the Government of Canada attach great 
importance to the development of an information society and economy, 
and recognise the importance of working together, both bilaterally 
and through multilateral efforts to create a co-ordinated and 
consistent international approach aimed at maximising benefits for 
all. Electronic commerce, in particular, will be an integral part of 
the information economy - enhancing productivity, creating jobs, 
fostering new markets and offering consumers greater choice.  

EU and Canada share a vision for the development of a global 
information society, and recognise the need for an international 
environment, which supports the growth of electronic commerce and 
maximises social potential for citizens. In order to foster this 
environment, they will actively work in concert with the private 
sector, civil society and international organisations to:  

Promote trust and confidence in the global marketplace by ensuring 
that the frameworks and safeguards address such issues as privacy, 
security, and consumer protection.  

Ensure that relevant legal and commercial frameworks apply to 
electronic transactions and do not unduly impede the potential of 
electronic commerce.  

Encourage the growth of, and access to, high quality information 
infrastructure and services through effective competition.  

Maximise the social and economic benefits resulting from the 
emergence of a digital economy and a global information society.  

Promote cultural and linguistic diversity in the information society 
by enabling wider access to cultural heritage and content such as new 
audio-visual services.  

Stimulate the development and diffusion of the Information Society 
through government practices including on line access to government 
information, electronic procurement, and promotion of open and 
interoperable systems.  

Privacy: EU and Canada consider that legislative frameworks for the 
protection of privacy and personal information are a vital component 
of electronic commerce strategy and beneficial to the evolution of an 
information society. Internationally, EU and Canada will support a 
standards-based approach to complement national frameworks.  

Security: EU and Canada agree on the necessity of policies to 
facilitate the use of technologies for authentication and for the 
conduct of secure electronic commerce. To this end, they will discuss 
the various technological options for providing authentication. EU 
and Canada will explore mechanisms to enhance international co-
operation to combat illegal activities and to empower users with 
regards to potentially harmful content.  

Consumer protection: EU and Canada believe that measures to provide 
consumers with a means to exercise choice, settle grievances and have 
lawful recourse to the resolution of disputes in an electronic 
environment (including online dispute settlement schemes) are central 
to the orderly development of electronic commerce. Consequently, they 
will discuss approaches to increase consumer confidence, protection 
and education.  

Partnerships: Given the acknowledged need for collaboration with the 
private sector and civil society in the development of global 
electronic commerce, EU and Canada will endeavour to include 
stakeholder interests in these activities. Particular attention will 
be given to the facilitation of self-regulatory and co-regulatory 
approaches within appropriate or regulatory frameworks.  

The EU and Canada also recognise the importance of business 
partnerships to the growth of global electronic commerce, and 
continue to support the collaboration by European and Canadian 
private sectors through broader co-operation initiatives, in 
particular in the area of research and development in information and 
communications technologies.  

Co-operation in Multilateral fora: EU and Canada will continue to 
make use of multilateral fora to pursue shared objectives for a 
global information society. In this regard, EU and Canada will 

_ continue to collaborate to establish frameworks within the OECD on 
taxation, consumer and privacy issues  

_ collaborate on WIPO initiatives related to intellectual property 
and electronic commerce  

_ Co-operate in the ongoing development of Internet governance, in 
particular by contributing to the work of ICANN.  

_ work actively to further the WTO Work Program on Electronic 
Commerce with a view to reaching consensus on what is needed to 
realize the potential contribution of electronic commerce to all WTO 
members and to achieving a comprehensive review of the implications 
of electronic commerce and its means of delivery for the application 
of WTO agreements and future negotiations, agreeing as they do that 
electronic commerce falls within the existing body of trade rules.  

Follow up: Canada and the EU agree to pursue the issues contained in 
this statement as part of their regular bilateral consultations on 
telecommunications and electronic commerce as key elements in the 
development of the global Information Society. A progress report will 
be submitted to the next Canada-EU Summit.  

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