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Electronic Commerce January 16, 2018  

Electronic Commerce Industry Assessment

The report provides an overview of electronic commerce policy issues in the U.S. and around the world. It includes information about e-commerce statistics, bilateral and multilateral efforts related to e-commerce, and challenges ahead. The report is available here.

Data Privacy and Cross-Border Data Flows

Recent News
  • On January 27, the Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration released a report entitled, "Digital Economy and Cross-Border Trade: The Value of Digitally-Deliverable Services,” available here.
Link to Archived News

U.S.–EU Safe Harbor Framework and U.S.–Swiss Safe Harbor Framework
The U.S.–European Union (EU) Safe Harbor Framework was developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission to allow U.S. organizations to satisfy the requirements of the EU’s Directive on Data Protection. This Framework facilitates uninterrupted transfers of personal information that supports billions of dollars in trade from the EU to the United States. The U.S.–Switzerland (Swiss) Safe Harbor Framework similarly covers personal information received from Switzerland. The Office of Technology and E-Commerce (OTEC) provides operational leadership with regard to these Frameworks. In November 2009, the Department hosted the 2009 International Conference on Cross Border Data Flows, Data Protection, and Privacy, which brought together the leading data privacy authorities from the United States, the EU, and Switzerland. The Safe Harbor website provides the information an organization would need to evaluate and self-certify to the Safe Harbor.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
The Office leads the U.S. delegation to the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG), and led negotiation of the APEC Privacy Framework. The goal of the APEC Privacy Framework is to facilitate the flow of information among the 21 Economies in APEC by promoting a common set of privacy principles that will enhance electronic commerce in the region. The Framework promotes a consistent approach to protecting data privacy across the APEC region, while avoiding the creation of unnecessary barriers to information flows. OTEC is leading the effort to implement the Framework by developing a system for cross-border data flows among APEC members that respects each member’s privacy laws. The Framework will greatly benefit U.S. businesses and consumers by bolstering on- and off-line privacy that will in turn fuel trust and contribute to the growth of cross-border trade. Additional information regarding the APEC Privacy Framework is available at the APEC website.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
OTEC plays a significant role shaping the OECD’s work on cybersecurity, privacy, spam and other information technology issues through the OECD’s Working Party in Information Security and Privacy. The Office participates in both the interagency process and within OECD, influencing policy and ensuring that other OECD member countries do not endorse policies that would negatively affect U.S. industry. The OECD’s current work program includes: evaluating the 1980 OECD Privacy Guidelines, reviewing identity management practices, and promoting user education and awareness about online privacy issues. Additional information is available at the OECD website.

Outreach to Industry

Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Information and Communications Technologies, Services, and Electronic Commerce (ITAC-8)
The Industry Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC) on Information and Communications Technologies, Services, and Electronic Commerce is charged with providing detailed policy and technical advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) regarding trade barriers and implementation of trade agreements as these relate to electronic commerce.

Electronic Commerce Statistics

Digital Economy and Cross-Border Trade: The Value of Digitally-Deliverable Services
In this report, released on January 27, 2014, the Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration presents an estimate of the percentage of services exports that are digitally-deliverable. The analysis reveals that in 2011, the United States exported $357.4 billion in digitally-deliverable services. This represented over 60 percent of U.S. services exports and about 17 percent of total U.S. goods and services exports.

U.S. Estimated Fourth Quarter 2013 Retail E-Commerce Sales
U.S. retail sales over the Internet grew by 3.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the previous quarter, rising to $69.2 billion. This quarterly sales growth outpaced the 0.6 percent quarterly increase for total retail sales. Retail e-commerce sales were up 16 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. This significant annual increase is even more noteworthy when compared to the overall retail sales growth of 3.8 percent over the same period. E-commerce sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 accounted for 6.0 percent of total retail sales. Find out additional details at the link above.

E-Stats is the U.S. Census Bureau's Web site devoted exclusively to "Measuring the Electronic Economy". It features recent and upcoming releases, information on methods, classification systems and background papers.

E-Commerce 2011
The latest edition of E-Stats provides a snapshot of e-commerce activity for key sectors of the U.S. economy for 2011 and revises previously released data for 2010.

International Data Protection Laws

Overview of Selected Western Hemisphere Data Protection Laws
Overview of Selected Asia and Oceania Data Protection Laws
The links above provide provide information compiled by the U.S. Department of Commerce on national data protection laws that have either been enacted or are currently under consideration around the world, and are intended to be for information only.

State Laws on Internet Privacy and Data Breach Notification Requirements
The National Conference of State Legislatures publishes information on state laws governing internet privacy and security breach notification requirements. This information is accessible using the links below.

State Security Breach Notification Laws

Selected State Laws Related to Internet Privacy

Disclaimer: These external links are provided for your convenience and information. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views, laws, or policies contained therein. The information on these sites may not be comprehensive or reflect recent changes and legislative updates.

Approved by Bobby for 508 compliancy, you do not need to have this image on your web pages!! This page was last updated on 02/19/2014. This site is operated by the Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce (OTEC) division of the International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

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