[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1997, Book II)]
[July 1, 1997]
[Pages 901-902]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Message to Internet Users on Electronic Commerce
July 1, 1997

    I have today approved and released a report--``A Framework for 
Global Electronic Commerce''--setting out my Administration's vision of 
the emerging electronic market-place and outlining the principles that 
will guide the U.S. Government's actions as we move forward into the new 
electronic age of commerce. The report also suggests an agenda for 
international discussions and agreements to facilitate the growth of 
electronic commerce.

[[Page 902]]

    The invention of the steam engine two centuries ago and the 
harnessing of electricity ushered in an industrial revolution that 
fundamentally altered the way we work, brought the world's people closer 
together in space and time, and brought us greater prosperity. Today, 
the invention of the integrated circuit and computer and the harnessing 
of light for communications have made possible the creation of the 
global Internet and an electronic revolution that will once again 
transform our lives.
    One of the most significant uses of the Internet is in the world of 
commerce. Already it is possible to buy books and clothing, to obtain 
business advice, to purchase everything from gardening tools to high-
tech telecommunications equipment over the Internet. This is just the 
beginning. Trade and commerce on the Internet are doubling or tripling 
every year--and in just a few years will be generating hundreds of 
billions of dollars in sales of goods and services. If we establish an 
environment in which electronic commerce can grow and flourish, then 
every computer can be a window open to every business, large and small, 
everywhere in the world.
    Governments can have a profound effect on the growth of electronic 
commerce. By their actions, they can facilitate electronic trade or 
inhibit it. Government officials should respect the unique nature of the 
medium and recognize that widespread competition and increased consumer 
choice should be the defining features of the new digital marketplace. 
They should adopt a market-oriented approach to electronic commerce that 
facilitates the emergence of a global, transparent, and predictable 
legal environment to support business and commerce.
    The report I released today raises a number of important issues that 
must be addressed by governments worldwide as this electronic 
marketplace emerges. I have had it added to the White House home-page on 
the World Wide Web (www.whitehouse.gov). I call upon all Internet 
users--both in government and in the private sector--to join me in 
seeking global consensus and, where necessary, agreements on the issues 
raised in our report by December 31, 1999, so that we may enter the new 
millennium ready to reap the benefits of the emerging electronic age of 

                                                      William J. Clinton

Note: The President's message appeared on the White House Home Page 
under What's New: Framework for Electronic Commerce. An original was not 
available for verification of the content of this message.