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EU to launch investigation into ecommerce firms to boost cross-border trade

RBR Staff Writer Published 30 March 2015

European Union (EU) antitrust regulators will begin an investigation into ecommerce firms in order to remove online barriers to cross-border trade across all 28 countries.

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The year-long inquiry comes as restricting cross-border trade is hampering the growth of online sales.

This is in line with the commission's priorities to create a connected Digital Single Market, which could create up to €340bn in additional growth and hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

Around 50% of all EU consumers shopped online in 2014, but only 15% of them purchased online from a seller based in another EU member state due to cross-border barriers such as language barriers, consumer preferences and differences in legislation across member states.

European Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "It is high time to remove remaining barriers to e-commerce, which is a vital part of a true Digital Single Market in Europe.

"The envisaged sector inquiry will help the Commission to understand and tackle barriers to e-commerce to the benefit of European citizens and business."

The inquiry will focus on private - and in particular contractual - barriers to cross-border e-commerce in digital content and goods.

During the course of the inquiry, the commission plans to gather information from a large number of stakeholders in all member states.

Image: EU to launch investigation into ecommerce firms to boost cross-border trade. Photo courtsey of renjith krishnan via freedigitalphotos.net.