Feeds

EC consults on low take-up of e-commerce

Wants more cross-border trade

Security for virtualized datacentres

The European Commission has asked retailers, governments, telecoms companies and the public to help it to understand why e-commerce has had such a limited effect on trade in Europe.

The Commission has launched a consultation process aimed at understanding why, 10 years after the E-Commerce Directive was passed, e-commerce retail represents only a tiny fraction of Europe's retail business.

"The European Commission wishes to study in detail the various reasons for the limited takeoff of electronic commerce ... and evaluate the implementation of the [E-Commerce] Directive," said the Commission's call for responses.

The Commission wants to hear the views of policy makers, businesses and the public on issues such as contractual restrictions on cross-border online sales and whether interpretation of the law on the liability of online service providers is hindering trade.

"Electronic commerce constitutes an important means to promote cross-border trade, improving the accessibility of Europe's population to more varied products, to more qualitative products, and exerting greater price competition in the on-line and off-line world," said the consultation. "However, 10 years after the adoption of the [E-Commerce Directive], the development of retail electronic commerce remains limited to less than 2% of European total retail trade."

Since the current Commission took office this year it has promoted a digital agenda which it hopes will solve some of the problems facing online businesses in the EU. That plan involves 100 actions, 31 of which will involve changing EU law, the Commission said earlier this year.

One of the aims of that agenda is improving the market for cross-border online commerce. It published a green paper last month outlining changes it planned to make to contract law in Europe to encourage consumers to buy goods and services from traders in other EU countries.

"Only 8% of consumers buy online from another member state," said a Commission statement announcing the consultation on those changes. "In addition, 61% of cross-border sales are rejected because traders refuse to serve the consumer's country. This is largely due to regulatory barriers and legal uncertainty about the applicable rules."

"I want a Polish, German or Spanish consumer to feel as safe when doing business with an Italian, Finnish or French company online as when they are at home," said Viviane Reding, the Justice Commissioner. "And I want Europe's small and medium-sized companies to offer their products and services to consumers in other countries without having to become experts in the national contract law systems of all other 26 EU countries."

The Commission has proposed creating a 28th contract regime that traders and consumers could use, rather than use the contract law of one of the EU's 27 member states.

The Commission's consultation on the E-Commerce Directive is open until 15 October.

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.