New rules should boost cross-border ecommerce in Europe

New rules should boost cross-border ecommerce in Europe

The European Commission has proposed new ecommerce rules which should help European consumers and companies benefit from the Digital Single Market. The plan consists of three measures: tackling geoblocking, making cross-border parcel delivery more affordable and efficient and promoting customer trust.

Europe is going for a Digital Single Market, which means regulatory walls get teared down in order to move from 28 national markets to a single one. The European Commission has now presented a plan that consists of three parts.

Geoblocking, cross-border delivery & customer trust

The Commission wants to address unjustified geoblocking, so consumers who want to buy abroad are not discriminated against in terms of access to prices, sales or payment conditions. It also wants to improve cross-border parcel delivery, so consumers and retailers can both benefit from affordable deliveries and convenient return options. Currently these parties complain about high delivery charges in cross-border shipping, which prevent them from selling or buying more across the EU. The last part of the new ecommerce package is about increasing consumer trust in ecommerce. One way the Commission wants to achieve this is by giving more powers to national authorities to better enforce consumer rights.

“All too often people are blocked from accessing the best offers when shopping online or decide not to buy cross-border because the delivery prices are too high or they are worried about how to claim their rights if something goes wrong”, says Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market. “We want to solve the problems that are preventing consumers and businesses from fully enjoying the opportunities of buying and selling products and services online.”

Comments from Ecommerce Europe and EMOTA

Industry association Ecommerce Europe gave its initial response on the ecommerce package and warns that “critical underlying problems, such as legal fragmentation, are not being addressed by the current proposal”.

Another pan-European association, EMOTA, also reacted to the ecommerce package. “Although this is a step in the right direction, much greater efforts are needed to stimulate the growth of intra-European ecommerce and consequently bring prices down for webshops, in particular regarding cross-border delivery”, says Maurits Bruggink, EMOTA’s secretary general.

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