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Home > UNCITRAL Colloquium

Overall Chair Attended UNCITRAL Colloquium
Vienna, Austria
Mar 29, 2010

Below is the text of the speech given by Overall Chair Takashi Enomoto.

UNCITRAL Colloquium
UNCITRAL Colloquium
UNCITRAL Colloquium

Hello everyone. I am Takashi Enomoto, the Overall Chair of Global Business Dialogue on e-Society, or GBDe.

I am very honored to be invited to this conference today, and, taking this opportunity, I would like to talk about "ICA-Net (International Consumers Advisory Network)", an international consumer’s complaint-handling network for cross-border online shopping, proposed by GBDe, its mechanism and how it handles cross-border cases, as well as challenges and direction for wider and sustainable operation.

Firstly, I would like to talk about Trustmark, not only because this is one of our activities but because trustmark providers can contribute to ODR mechanism. Trustmark certifies that the third party organization examines the online shop and guarantees the credibility of the shop. This slide shows some of the trust mark providers in the world.

In 2002 GBDe made a recommendation on the international alliance of trustmark. With the support of GBDe, Asia Trustmark Alliance, or ATA, was established in the following year with 4 states: Japan, Korea, Singapore and Chinese Taipei. Thereafter, USA, Mexico, Vietnam and Philippines joined ATA. ATA was also renamed as Asia-Pacific Trustmark Alliance.
Currently, Thailand, Malaysia and China are interested in joining ATA in the near future. GBDe has continued the support of the expansion of ATA since its establishment.

In Europe, there is a similar alliance named Euro-Label. Currently 7 states join the Euro-Label, which are Germany, Austria, France, Italy Spain, Poland and Malta.

Since last year ATA and Euro-Label have been communicating each other for the cooperation between Asia-Pacific and Europe region. At the beginning of this year, we had the good news that Euro-Label decided to join ATA for global trustmark alliance.

Now, I’m going to talk about ADR activity.
In 2007 at the GBDe’s plenary meeting in Tokyo, we proposed the concept of an international complaint-handling network for cross-border online shopping, which is called ICA-Net. In order to realize the concept, we had meetings and discussions in 2008 with various stakeholders, including governments, international organizations, consumers organization and ADR providers.

This diagram shows the structure of ICA-Net. The idea is to put one single window called Consumer Advisory Liaison Office, or CALO, in each state and have them share the information and solve the consumers complaints.

CALO informs or directs the complaint to the business association handling ADR, consumers organization or trustmark provider (trustmark certification organization). Trustmark providers play important role, especially when trustmark-related complaints are raised, because trustmark providers in general are responsible for certifying and give trustmark to e-commerce merchants.

In fact, many of the ATA members are joining ICA-Net, serving as CALOs or communicating with CALOs, in order to handle complaints. When necessary, CALO contacts with law enforcement agency to solve the issue. Therefore, CALO needs strong support from its government.

The trial of ICA-Net has started in January with 5 participating states, USA, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Chinese Taipei. In additions to the 5 states, other states are showing interest in joining the network, such as Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and China. Although the number of the cases is not many, the ICA-Net has been contributing to the solutions for cross-border dispute.

Over the continuous discussions with governments, ICA-Net has been well recognized by Asia-Pacific governmental organization. Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, or ERIA, is an international research organization for economic integration in the east Asia region. Its board of directors consists of ASEAN 10 states plus Japan, China, Korea, India Australia and New Zealand.

ICA-Net initiative has been adopted as the main theme at one of its working group (Working Group for building infrastructure for safe and secured electronic commerce), and has been discussed among the representatives of the member states.

GBDe has been participating in the discussions of the Working Group for wider and more sustainable operation of ICA-Net. With the positive back-up from ERIA, ICA-Net is expected to make further solid progress. We are now also talking with European ADR network, called ECC-Net, which I will be talking a little bit more later.

As I have already mentioned, the trial of ICA-Net is on-going since January 2009.
Although the number of handled cases are not many yet, ICA-Net is surely contributing to the solutions for the disputes on cross-border e-commerce. This slide shows some of the cases which ICA-Net handled. We expect that the number of dispute handling will increase when ICA-Net is more recognized.

As mentioned before, there is a similar network in Europe, called ECC-Net (European Consumers Center Network) which handles cross-border consumers’disputes. Currently 29 states have joined the network, and European Commission and each government support it. They handled over 62,000 disputes in total.

In fact, the concept of ICA-Net was based on this ECC-Net. The international collaboration is indispensable for solving disputes of e-commerce which is expanding over region and border. ICA-Net and ECC-Net have been exchanging information for future cooperation between Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.

In order for ICA-Net to be sustained and grow, there are some issues to tackle:
Firstly, we need more participants for the network. The talks with ASEAN states are on going and the talk with ECC-Net in Europe should continue.
Secondly, as very few people know about ICA-Net at present, ICA-Net should be more widely recognized in order to protect more consumers.
Thirdly, we need governmental support. Currently trial is being conducted by the participating CALOs on voluntary basis. When the network grows and the volume of dispute increases, the current system will not be able to hold the load. As we believe that Governmental support is required, we regard ECC-Net as good model which we should learn. Discussion with ERIA will continue for further progress in the region.

Thank you for your attention.