Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox met with securities regulators from Australia, Canada, China, Israel, Japan and South Korea to discuss the timeline for the implementation of interactive data for financial reporting.

The SEC has been pushing for more public companies to file their financial statements with interactive data tags, in Extensible Business Reporting Language format. The XBRL format allows investors to compare financial statements more easily across companies and industry sectors. Recently a complete set of XBRL data tags for generally accepted accounting principles was produced (see SEC Pushes XBRL Tags for GAAP).

"The global movement to interactive data for financial reporting is truly underway," said Cox in a statement.

At a meeting of the International Organization of Securities Commissions, Japanese regulators said they had set an aggressive timetable for implementation of data tagging using XBRL. Japan has mandated public company reporting using XBRL beginning in the second quarter of 2008.

China is the first country to mandate XBRL reporting. It is requiring interactive data filing for the full financial statements of all listed companies in quarterly, half-year and annual reports. The program has grown since 2003 to include more than 800 companies.

Korea has been taking steps toward adopting XBRL for regulatory reporting, having established a voluntary XBRL filing program last year. Beginning in October 2007, all publicly held companies were required to file financial statements using XBRL. So far, more than 29 listed companies have filed their full financial information using XBRL.

Canadian securities administrators launched an XBRL voluntary filing program earlier this year. Australia's implementation of interactive data for financial reporting is scheduled for mid-2010, with pilots and proof-of-concepts beginning in 2008. In Israel, all public company financial reporting will be tagged using XBRL beginning in 2008.

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