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LINKS IN THIS SECTION

- Introduction: The Scope of E-commerce Legislation and Regulation
- Supranational Regulation: the EU, the OECD and other bodies
- International Organisations and Anti-Offshore Initiatives
- The E-commerce Laws in High-Tax Countries and Offshore Jurisdictions

RELATED SECTIONS

- Taxation of Offshore E-commerce
- Offshore E-commerce Facilities
- Offshore Professional and Financial Services
- Offshore E-commerce Applications

This section is designed to present a basic outline of regulation and legislation affecting e-commerce, and specifically offshore e-commerce, for those involved in it. The term 'e-commerce' is understood here to mean, commercial transactions taking place on the Internet.

In most respects, e-commerce transactions as such are not that different from contractual bargains in the physical world, and the existing body of national and international law and regulation continues to apply. The key issues which have required new legislation pertain to signatures, security and certification on the one hand, and questions of the location of contracting parties on the other, caused by the portability of servers.

The US and the EU each in their own way are federal structures, and the balance of powers between the component states or countries on the one hand, and the central legislative body on the other, has complicated, and continues to complicate, the process of regulating the Internet.

As a generalisation, it is fair to say that most countries either have or soon will have legislated for electronic signatures and the admissibility of electronic contracts. Certification (the process by which a user can rely on the validity of an electronic document as surely as on that of a paper one) is increasingly being considered for legislation by governments, although it is not yet universally available in any standardised way. The security of transactions, likewise, has traditionally been achieved through operation of the market rather than through the actions of legislators, although the latter have increased their scrutiny of this area in recent years.

The problems consequent on the portability of servers are not easily solved - although some countries have legislated on the subject - since they frequently involve cross-border transactions.

From a legislative perspective, offshore e-commerce is not different from e-commerce, although the location for tax purposes of a server in an offshore jurisdiction highlights the need for clear rules about the location of the parties to an electronic contract.

REGULATION OF OFFSHORE E-COMMERCE

- Introduction: The Scope of E-commerce Legislation and Regulation - A review of the range of laws impacting the conduct of onshore and offshore e-commerce.
- Supranational Regulation: the EU, the OECD and other bodies - International initiatives to regulate e-commerce and offshore e-commerce; anti-offshore initiatives.
- International Organisations and Anti-Offshore Initiatives - International initiatives from the G7, the OECD and the EU to restrict offshore regimes and their tax-saving possibilities.
- The E-commerce Laws in High-Tax Countries and Offshore Jurisdictions - The laws passed in 'high-tax' countries and links to descriptions of the legislative situation in each offshore jurisdiction.


 

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