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E-commerce in red-tape bondage threat

We will not straitjacket business, says DTI

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The government's plans to turn the UK into a thriving centre of electronic commerce could be jeopardised if it becomes too obsessed with rules and regulations. Paul Barker, a consultant at KPMG, warned that over regulation could severely hamper the UK's progress, although he did broadly approve of the government's measures, as outlined in the Queen's speech last week. "The government should avoid the temptation to over-regulate as this could inhibit, rather than encourage the adoption of e-commerce," he said speaking at a seminar. "If the government were to insist on issuing licences to all companies before allowing them trade electronically, this could add an extra layer of bureaucracy that might stifle innovation," he said. But a spokesman at the Department of Trade and Industry dismissed the claims saying that too much red tape would not hamper the development of e-commerce. Over-regulation is at the forefront of our minds, he said, and the last thing we want to do is pass legislation that will straitjacket business. This is particularly important when it comes to e-commerce -- especially since no one knows what it will be like in ten years time, he said. The electronic commerce bill is expected to be debated in the spring and could be made law by the summer.®

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