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The Federal Trade Commission will host a forum on Thursday, November 29, 2012, on using enforceable industry codes of conduct to protect consumers in cross-border commerce.  Such systems, where government entities, businesses, consumer groups and other organizations develop and administer voluntary procedures that govern areas falling outside of traditional government oversight, are becoming increasingly important with the expansion of global commerce.

The forum will explore the use of systems like one created earlier this year to give consumers in the Asia-Pacific region more consistent privacy protections when their information moves between countries with different privacy rules.

The new Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) privacy rules grew out of a cooperative effort by the FTC, the Department of Commerce, U.S. corporations, and privacy advocacy organizations, as well as their counterparts in other APEC economies.   Companies that want to participate in the new privacy system will undergo a review and certification process by third parties that will examine corporate privacy policies and practices. They also will be subject to ongoing compliance monitoring and supervision by these third parties as well as to government enforcement.

This is one example in recent years of how governments, academics and international organizations have begun to explore how to protect consumers in the global economy through voluntary industry codes that contain accountability and enforcement provisions. 

The November 29 forum will bring together stakeholders such as government officials, academics, industry members, and consumer groups to explore the increasing use of such codes in the areas of privacy, food and product safety, and corporate social responsibility. 

Panelists at the forum will offer views on related legal and policy issues, including concerns about anticompetitive practices.  They also will compare different systems and discuss best practices.

The forum, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the FTC’s Satellite Building Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC.  It will precede a conference sponsored by the American Society of International Law (ASIL) from November 29 to December 1 at the George Washington University Law School on the role of the private sector in shaping oversight of the global marketplace. More information on the conference is at ASIL’s website.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available on request.  Submit requests in advance with a description of the accommodation needed, and contact information.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call
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Contact Information


Peter Kaplan,
Office of Public Affairs


Keith Fentonmiller,
Bureau of Consumer Protection

Hui Ling Goh,
Office of International Affairs