Europe and the US are still at loggerheads over data privacy issues that could potentially unbalance continued electronic commerce between the two regions.
The Clinton Administration's trade representative, David Aaron, and the European Union's director general for financial services, John Mogg, met in Brussels on Friday. They were unable to resolve differences over whether the US Administration's proposals for allowing businesses to regulate their own privacy guidelines was sufficient to meet the strict EU privacy directive, which took effect last year.
Over the last six months the EU and the US have been trying to reach some kind of compromise on data privacy before President Clinton's summit with European heads on 21 June. It is still unclear whether the differences will be resolved at the summit.
The EU is worried that the US self-regulation strategy on data privacy is not stringent enough to protect consumer privacy, especially whether European consumers will have sufficient access to data that is collected by companies about them.
The worst case scenario if a compromise cannot be found would be a blockade on ecommerce between the US and Europe.
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