Commerce Minister Osama Faqih today opened the Second Saudi Forum on E-Commerce organized by the Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with International Middle East Consultants. Participants include experts from the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Union for Telecommunications, the United Nations Committee on International Commercial Law, major companies in the field of electronic trade, Saudi Telecom, and Saudi Aramco.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Faqih said the forum stands as witness to the Kingdom's positive response to contemporary developments and its desire to benefit from the experience of scientific and consulting centers. Referring to the importance of e-commerce, he cited U.S. $7.2 trillion as its predicted share in international trade by 2004. E-commerce, he said, has many advantages, notably cost reduction for consumers through elimination of intermediaries, fast access to information on potential markets, products and partners, and new trade in goods and services that were not previously marketable because of distance. Reviewing the challenges of this sector, he spoke of the need for an international legal framework, the problem of guaranteeing security and privacy, and the issue of dealing with customs procedures, including establishing effective means of verifying the authenticity of documents, digital signatures and contracts.
Minister Faqih noted that the Kingdom's Council of Ministers approved the formation of a standing technical committee for electronic trade at the Ministry of Commerce comprised of representatives of concerned official bodies. The committee began its work by discussing ways of making available in the Kingdom the basic requirements for spreading e-commerce technology.