Legislation on electronic transactions in China and America: suggestions for China

This paper compares the legislation on electronic commerce in China and America. Regulatory agencies and legislation on electronic commerce in China and America are identified. The main issues regarding the electronic transactions are discussed. By comparing the overall policy, I conclude that China needs an overall policy to govern the enactment of legislation on electronic commerce. Through analyzing the PRC (People's Public of China) Contract Law and comparing the legislation on electronic transaction, we have a better understanding of legal situation in China and America. In the landmark Contract Law promulgated in April 1999, electronic contracts are endowed with the same legal position as other written forms of contracts by article 11. From this perspective, The PRC Contract Law is situated the leading position in recognition of legal status of electronic contract, but it did not mention the use of digital signatures in online contracts. So the electronic contracting will not be widely used in business transactions in China, which in turn will likely hamper the development of e-commerce in China. On February I, 2003, Guangdong Province promulgated comprehensive local legislation on E-commerce, "The Rules on Electronic Transactions of Guangdong Province." It is a significant step in enacting national law on E-commerce. However, China has yet to enact national legislation on electronic commerce. It is of great significance to study the legislation on electronic commerce in America. At the same time, the real situation of China's legal environment should be taken into consideration when enacting a law. Based on the comparative stud y, a series of suggestions are put forward for China's national and local governments.