Electronic commerce is emerging as one of the main application domains on the Internet and the WWW and promises to change radically the relationship between customers, retailers and service providers. However, for this to happen, electronic commerce must become effectively a better way of selling goods and services than the traditional channels. This requires a suitable infrastructure for developing electronic commerce applications that meet the needs of both customers and providers; for instance, multiparty negotiations should be supported, while restrictions on payment methods should as much as possible be banned. The current capabilities for developing electronic commerce software fall short of such requirements. To contribute to the solution of this problem, we introduce here Xpect, a generic framework for the development of electronic commerce applications that provides powerful agent-based capabilities for the coordination of multiple services and the intermediation and the negotiation among multiple parties.