Based on a Business Media Framework (BMF), this paper proposes an architecture for secure electronic contracts, which adhere to legal requirements and can be applied for an integrated management of market transactions. We propose the use of XML, digital signatures, and Java technology for secure electronic contracting. The resulting contract container can be applied for the support of an integrated information flow through the different services of an electronic market. In addition the container holds a control logic, that supports the management of the contract negotiation and the contract settlement. The concept provided in this paper was developed in the Secure Electronic Contracts (SeCo) project of the =mcminstitute of the University of St. Gallen and the University of Zurich, Switzerland, in cooperation with several business partners.