Raising cross border trade issues with MEPs

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Giles Chichester, Fiona Hall, Emma McClarkin and Diana Wallis
Last month some eBay sellers participated in a number of meetings with UK MEPs as part of an “eBay seller fly-in” to Brussels. The fly-in was organized by eBay to help EU legislators understand the challenges faced by online sellers and the actions which can be taken to overcome those challenges.

Sellers from the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Ireland met a number of MEPs from their own country and the UK contingent met Giles Chichester, Fiona Hall, Emma McClarkin and Diana Wallis.

Numerous issues were highlighted which affect sellers on eBay, including:

  • Expensive and unreliable cross-border delivery systems in the EU. It was pointed out that it is less expensive to send a CD from the UK to the US (and even Japan) than it is to send it to France.
     

  • Different regulatory systems throughout the EU complicate cross-border trade for small businesses. For example, Member States have different registration systems to comply with the EU’s Waste Electronics and Electrical Equipment Directive, which is intended to promote recycling of electrical products. In addition, consumer rules differ significantly between Member States. Any small business trying to trade across borders therefore has to adapt to the individual consumer protection regimes in each country into which it trades. The EU is currently developing an EU-wide system of contract law, which could help facilitate B2C cross-border trade, provided it is voluntary for businesses and keeps red tape to a minimum.
     

  • The importance of improving mobile data coverage to enable eBay users to take advantage of web enabled commerce to buy and sell online and offline, whenever and wherever they wish. The EU is currently working on a Data Roaming Regulation, which could significantly drive down the costs for consumers who want to go online while they are abroad.

If you have experienced these or other issues, let us know as eBay are keen to raise them on behalf of sellers with legislators here in the UK and in Brussels.

3 Responses

  1. Hello,
    I’m currently writing an e-book about finance for UK-based small businesses who want to trade internationally – and the complexity of inter-EU VAT beggars belief.
    It would be great to have that simplified and as a qualified accountant I am happy to chip in and help and advise.
    Thanks!
    Emily

  2. Chris,

    Sorry to be lengthy but:

    I hope that you were quoting from an eBay press release with your 3 ‘bullet’ points (rather than being original).

    Whatever, none of the points seem quite right. Actually total rubbish. Looks like some rather poor spin to me.

    1. ‘It was pointed out that it is less expensive to send a CD from the UK to the US (and even Japan) than it is to send it to France’

    The three largest sellers of CD’s based in UK would seem to differ. Their rates for shipping are all cheaper to France than to US. By £1, £1 and 35p respectively. I know from personal experience that using Royal Mail would be cheaper to France.

    2. ‘The EU is currently developing an EU-wide system of contract law, which could help facilitate B2C cross-border trade, provided it is voluntary for businesses and keeps red tape to a minimum’

    Why waste time on any law that could be used on a voluntary basis? Pointless.

    3. ‘The EU is currently working on a Data Roaming Regulation, which could significantly drive down the costs for consumers who want to go online while they are abroad’

    What relevance has consumers wanting to go online while they are abroad got with cross border trade?

    I have a better question for eBay on the cross border trade (within the EU) issue:

    Why please are my BIN listings not shown by default on all eu sites? They do (get shown) on .com.

    Was this just more low quality output from eBay?

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