March 08, 2001, 2:05 PM — Saying technology vendors and industry groups need "a champion" in Washington, U.S. Commerce Secretary Donald Evans today disclosed that the Bush administration is considering the creation of a new position with responsibility for representing the views of high-tech companies.
Evans, speaking at the Global Internet Summit 2000 conference here, said technology vendors should have "a single point of contact to help [them] plot a course" on policy issues and on promoting market opportunities on a global basis. But after his speech, Evans said no decision has been made about adding such a post. "We're continuing to view and consider what kind of model would best serve the IT world," he said.
Beyond that, Evans offered few specifics about the new administration's plans in regard to technology issues. Instead, he listed some broad philosophical goals that all point toward minimal regulation. "The better job we do of keeping government out of the way . . . the better job American business will do at home," he said.
On that point, Evans got some support from Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Mary Harney, who emphasized the need for a "light" regulatory touch while addressing the conference. Ireland is doing better economically than some other European countries because of its approach to regulating companies, Harney said.
"Over-regulation does stifle business development," Harney said in response to a reporter's question. "I believe you will see a move towards lighter regulation over time -- because the alternative just doesn't work."
Al Berkeley, vice chairman of Washington-based Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., also called for deregulation of the equity markets and said international agreements are needed to allow the easy flow of investments between different countries. Currently, it's easier to buy a foreign wine "than to buy the stocks of any of those companies" that produce the wine, Berkeley said.
This is the second year that the conference, sponsored by Washington-based George Mason University, is being held. About 700 people attended, down several hundred from last year -- possibly reflecting the bursting of the dot-com market bubble that has been marked by numerous shutdowns or cutbacks by e-commerce ventures.