The Internet Can Help Cut Red Tape In 50 Countries

Help for small and medium-sized businesses wanting to do business overseas is on the way over the Internet. Connecting some 50 countries around the world, a service called Trade Point is being set up to cut red tape in each location and help companies with limited resources negotiate contracts without having to hire brokers and other intermediaries. It's being run out of Columbus, Ohio, by the not-for-profit North American Trade Point Corp., which is backed by such companies as AT&T, Digital Equipment, and IBM.

Using an Internet service called World Wide Web, which distributes and presents information on screens in the form of nicely designed, full-color "pages," the system will help businesses advertise themselves worldwide and gain quick access to a welter of valuable information. That includes credit reports from Dun & Bradstreet Corp., data from the U.S. Commerce Dept., and reference material that will allow businesses to act as their own authorized agents in other countries. Trade Point adheres to a set of trading principles produced in 1992 by the United Nations.

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