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Australia will become the third nation to form an affiliate of CommerceNet, a nonprofit coalition that works toward the development of e-commerce.

In an unannounced deal signed this week, Australia will become the third nation to form an affiliate of CommerceNet, a nonprofit coalition that works toward the development of electronic commerce, CommerceNet Chairman Marty Tenenbaum told CNET today.

CommerceNet has similar partnerships in Japan and Canada, where banks, major technology firms, and government agencies have licensed the CommerceNet name and formed national versions of the consortium.

Similar arrangements are being discussed with groups in Sweden, Italy, and Korea, said Tenenbaum, who sees international affiliates as a way to expand CommerceNet's business development network and grow the Net as a venue for commerce.

CommerceNet's international flavor is underlined this week by the nearly 100 Japanese delegates attending CommerceNet's conference in Burlingame, California.

CommerceNet, with some 175 U.S. members, is a nonprofit association working to transform the Internet into a global electronic marketplace. It conducts pilot projects to show the feasibility of Internet commerce in specific industries and has been a forum for early work on Internet standards related to electronic commerce.