Legislation promotes e-commerce

NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology would be required tohelp small and medium-size manufacturers integrate e-commerce technologyinto their business, under legislation passed by the House Wednesday.

The Electronic Commerce Enhancement Act of 2001, introduced Feb.8, wouldrequire NIST to work with major industries and develop a plan detailinghow manufacturers, suppliers and others in the supply chain can be linkedelectronically.

NIST also would have to establish an advisory panel to study and reporton the problems and potential solutions that smaller manufacturers facewhen it comes to using e-commerce for such things as payment and ordering.

The panel would have to draft a three-year e-commerce plan for NIST'sManufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program and, if necessary, producesome recommendations for NIST on how to address e-commerce interoperabilityissues. The MEP also would have to establish a pilot program for assistingthese businesses in e-commerce.

The MEP is a national network of centers offering technical expertise,training and guidance to small and medium-size manufacturers.

Rep. Jim Barcia (D-Mich.) introduced the bill (H.R. 524), which is identicalto a bill he introduced last summer. At that time, Barcia called small andmedium-size businesses the "backbone of our economy" and said the legislationwould ensure that they "would not be left behind."

Barcia is the ranking Democrat on the House Science Committee's Environment,Technology and Standards Subcommittee.

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