Headlines: June 29th, 1999

Electronic commerce has the potential to be one of the great economic developments of the 21st Century, spurring growth and employment throughout the world. It is set to revolutionising the commercial world, offering greater choice to consumers, and greater access to markets for suppliers. Public sector organisations are taking up lead positions in this move to the new form of trading.

Central and local government and the health services are big spenders in terms of the goods and services they procure. Information technology procurements are substantial. Central government has a target to procure 90% of purchases electronically by 2001 .

Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise are helping the business world to trade electronically and they have set up the Electronic Commerce Consultation Forum to discuss with business the taxation issues raised by  e-commerce. They have also devised a framework for taking forward discussion of the key issues. The revenue departments are also playing a major role in work on the tax issues raised by electronic commerce in the OECD. Discussion in the Forum will enable the departments to present a representative UK view as the backdrop for international discussions.