The U.S. Commerce Department will study business-to-business electronic commerce activity through a national survey, Commerce Secretary William M. Daley said.

"Because business-to-business e-commerce is far larger than retail sales, for the first time, we will be collecting numbers on this also," he said. "In the next few months, we will survey tens of thousands of manufacturers, service organizations, wholesalers and retailers. We will ask how much did they acquire and sell over the Internet."

The results of the survey will be released next year. Daley added that the survey will become an annual event.

"When we release the results, it will be the benchmark number on this aspect of business-to-business e-commerce," he said.

Daley also outlined his department's e-commerce initiatives for the coming year, including online privacy policies, consumer-protection issues such as dispute resolution and jurisdictional concerns, legality of electronic signatures and Internet security.