Removing barriers to cross-border trade

European eCommerce association strongly supports ambitious EU Commission plans

Photo: Speaker and audience

The European Multi-Channel and Online Trade Association, EMOTA, is the voice of online and distance sellers in the EU. EMOTA represents online and distance sellers from 12 markets, including Germany, France, Spain and Italy © EMOTA


EMOTA, the European eCommerce Association, strongly supports the EU Commission’s commitment to redoubling the EU efforts for the removal of the remaining barriers to EU cross-border selling. The Digital Single Market Package, presented by the EU Commission on 6 May, echoes many of the EMOTA key policy priorities in ensuring a seamless EU Digital Single Market for products and services.

EMOTA Secretary General Mr Maurits Bruggink: EMOTA’s main goal is to help policy makers dismantle the complex barriers faced by sellers and consumers when engaging in cross-border trade. We are keen to work with the EU Commission, Parliament and Member States both in Brussels and at the national level to ensure a better understanding of the real challenges faced by sellers in cross-border eCommerce and to help implement the most efficient solutions, be it via legislative initiatives or industry and consumer group initiatives. EMOTA published in November 2014 a list of the top priorities for online sellers in the Digital Single Market. The EMOTA Key Messages in the Context of the Digital Single Market Package:

A functional and competitive data protection framework

EMOTA calls on policy makers to make the adoption of a workable and functional data protection framework a top priority in the context of the Digital Single Market Package. The further development of eCommerce and a data driven economy should be the primary goals of the EU data protection reform. A complex set of data protection rules risks to monopolize data processing, reduce consumer awareness and hamper SMEs from making full use of the digital economy.

Preventing discriminatory measures while guaranteeing the seller’s freedom of contract

EMOTA strongly supports policy makers in ensuring that consumers, and sellers alike, are not discriminated against (e.g. based on the consumer’s place of residence, or via unfair restrictions imposed on sellers). At the same time, it is crucial that sellers are allowed to choose the markets they should serve, based on the investments needed(e.g. securing the necessary payment channels, delivery and returns contracts, guarantees, after sales services and other administrative obligations) and the competitiveness of their offers. Policy makers should not restrict the freedom of sellers to adjust their offers to the needs and costs of the respective markets, as long as this does not result in unfair discriminatory measures against consumers. The EMOTA Members initiatives, such as the EMOTA eCommerce Trustmark, require sellers to ensure full transparency in the case of any restrictions applied to cross-border sales, in line with the EU Services Directive and the Consumer Rights Directive. EMOTA welcomes the EU Commission recent initiatives to identify any unfair restrictions imposed on sellers, which should be analysed carefully on a case by case basis.

A timely full harmonisation and simplification of consumer protection rules in online sales

EMOTA welcomes the EU Commission commitment to further harmonise consumer protection rules in distance sales contracts for goods and the plans to facilitate the possibility for sellers to rely on their national laws in cross-border sales (the so called “home option”). Any such initiatives should aim to make cross-border trade more attractive to a greater number of sellers, especially SMEs.

A true One Stop Shop for VAT

EMOTA also welcomes the EU Commission plans to enable a Value Added Tax “One Stop Shop”, thus reducing administrative burdens for cross-border sales and ensuring a level playing field across the EU 28 markets.

Engaging with all stakeholders for timely market oriented solutions to cross-border trade barriers

EMOTA encourages policy makers and all stakeholders in the eCommerce value chain to engage in the development of meaningful industry initiatives meant to encourage more sellers to sell online and cross-border. Such initiatives could be developed in partnership with postal operators, payment providers or data companies. EMOTA strongly believes that in order to ensure a high level of competitiveness in a timely framework, policy makers, enforcement bodies and stakeholders should work towards identifying the best solutions that could be implemented by the industry, only to then enshrine these into legislation, should this be necessary for ensuring a level playing field across the EU Single Market.

Source: EMOTA