Ecommerce Europe: ‘Urgent need to ensure a level playing field’

Ecommerce Europe: ‘Urgent need to ensure a level playing field’

In an open letter, Ecommerce Europe and many of its national association members are calling for a level playing field for all ecommerce players active in the European market. They explicitly advocate for better enforcement of existing regulations.

The interest groups are dismayed to see how providers from outside the European Union are managing to attract European consumers without adhering to the rules. At least, it strongly appears so according to Ecommerce Europe, in regards to regulations on consumer protection, product safety, counterfeiting, data protection, privacy, environmental and taxation legislation.

Regulations and compliance costs

Companies that are already based in the EU are subject to many regulations in these areas, states Ecommerce Europe, and compliance costs tend to be high “as rules are generally complex and often not fully harmonized at the EU level”. It has therefore become challenging for EU-based players to compete on an equal level with new players from outside the EU targeting European ecommerce.

“In the past years and even more recently, new ecommerce players from outside the EU have entered the Union and are putting a lot of pressure on the Single Market and on companies that are already established in the EU”, observes Luca Cassetti, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe.

‘Players from outside the EU are putting a lot of pressure on the Single Market’

Cassetti continues: “We have always been, and we will continue to be, strongly in favour of an open and competitive market, as ecommerce is a global phenomenon. However, decision-makers and competent authorities must ensure that this competition is fair.”

Potentially dangerous

By not complying with the rules, besides the unfair competition angle, products that are potentially dangerous can reach EU consumers, warns Ecommerce Europe. The problem is not so much that the existing rules are inadequate, according to the letter writers:

‘The problem lies in the poor enforcement of these EU rules towards non-EU based players.’

Ecommerce Europe and the national co-signers assert that oversight of foreign players should be just as strict as that for players within the Union and call to “sanction non-compliant players with the same determination”.



Arjan van Oosterhout has been contributing to Ecommerce News Europe since the spring of 2023. He writes news articles for the website on a freelance basis.

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