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You'll find in this section and below a library of resources (mostly) produced by EuroCommerce by type and in chronological order. If you are looking for resources related to a certain subject, issue or policy area, browse our policy areas section.

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EuroCommerce warns on rising tide of protectionism
24 Jul 2017 open-close-item
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The IMF has issued its latest six-monthly World Economic Outlook, which again marked a continued shift towards protectionism in advanced economies.

As this and other recent reports[1] – and the direct experience of retailers, wholesalers and traders – show, there is a continued move away from open trading policies. In our view, the accelerating trend of countries looking to short-term measures to protect a particular sector ignores the long-term damage, not only to the wider economy, but also the long-term cost to themselves in lost competitiveness and economic health. A free global market and an open EU Single Market aim to allow consumers and businesses access to the goods and services they want to buy. Protectionism is essentially about the state making decisions which close off choices for ordinary people and companies.

Commenting today on the publication of the IMF report, EuroCommerce Director-General, Christian Verschueren, said:

“Too many countries in and outside the EU are trying to gain a marginal advantage by creating new barriers to businesses seeking to offer choice and good service to consumers. This is short-sighted - and ultimately self-defeating, hindering countries’ own growth and the creation of new jobs. In the EU, it is also undermining the Single Market on which all our economies depend. An unfinished and fragmented Single Market costs consumers and businesses billions of euros every year. This IMF report provides further valuable evidence for why the EU needs to equip itself to compete globally by eliminating discriminatory and unjustified restrictions on providing consumers with the best goods and services.”


[1] For example, The European Commission Trade and Investment Barriers Report for 2016 cited European exporters reporting a 10% increase in the number of trade barriers they faced.

~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 - timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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Chemicals (including REACH)
18 Jul 2017 open-close-item
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Consumers now have more access to information on the presence of hazardous substances in the products they buy. However, this greater transparency is undermined by inconsistencies in different regulations on the exact information requirements. Harmonisation of rules will help consumers to better understand the information, allowing them to make more informed purchasing decisions. Any public information aimed at consumers should be clearer, more proportionate and risk-based.

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Food Contact Materials
18 Jul 2017 open-close-item
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Food contact materials (FCM) are all materials and articles which are intended to come into contact with food. FCMs are used throughout the food chain as machinery in food manufacturing, as food packaging and in food preparation and serving. Thus, they can influence food safety and quality throughout the whole food chain. FCM covers a wide range of materials such as glass, metal, paper, plastics but also adhesives, printing inks and coatings used in the finishing of the final articles.

Generally, consumers trust FCMs, however once an issue is taken up by the media this leads to suspicion from consumers on this substance. For example, this was the case with France’s ban on BPA from all food packaging in 2015; a ban which has subsequently been challenged by the European Commission. Another example is press coverage regarding mineral oils and NGO campaigning for bans. The issue has been heavily discussed by consumers, including on social media. However, a recent report by EFSA on risk assessment at national level has shown that for the non-EU harmonised materials, the use of 3000 substances at national level is regulated while only 320 of these regulated substances are adequately risk-assessed.

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Antimicrobial Resistance
18 Jul 2017 open-close-item
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms to resist antimicrobial treatments, especially antibiotics, making them ineffective. AMR is a growing global threat and a significant societal and economic challenge. The cost of inaction is projected to result in 10 million deaths per year globally and a cumulative loss of over €88 trillion to the world economy by 2050. High political importance has been attached to the issue within the EU, the G7, the G20, the UN and other international organisations. The Council conclusions of 17 June 2016 on AMR call for a reinforced EU strategy against AMR and a new, comprehensive EU Action Plan on AMR based on the “One-Health” approach.

Under the previous Action Plan, the EU’s main aim in the fight against AMR was to support Member States, in establishing, implementing and monitoring their national action plans; to bring together EU funds and instruments; to promote innovation and research against AMR; and help to strengthen the EU's role in global fora.

The Commission adopted a new Action Plan to tackle AMR in June 2017 together with EU Guidelines on the prudent use of antimicrobials in human health. This new Action plan includes 75 actions and is built on three main pillars: 1) Making the EU a best-practice region, 2) Boosting research, development and innovation, 3) Shaping the global agenda.

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EU - US Trade
18 Jul 2017 open-close-item
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The transatlantic commercial relationship is the largest in the world, with the EU and the US exceeding €3 trillion in annual trade, investment and sales by foreign affiliates of companies of one another’s market, representing over 50% of global GDP and 30% of global trade.

The US market is very mature but also holds potential for many European retailers and wholesalers. Many companies are successfully established in the US, others benefit from the trade relations with a reliable partner.

The EU and the US as the biggest economic players in the world now have the opportunity to remove trade barriers, thus sending a strong signal for free and fair trade. Both sides should continue negotiations in a transparent way and keep up the dialogue with the civil society.

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Joint Statement on Businesses concerned by the draft Parcel Delivery Regulation
12 Jul 2017 open-close-item
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High European parcel delivery performance is a key driver for success for web merchants and their business models. However, more options are needed, including different offers, alternative, affordable delivery options, more flexibility, more information and greater transparency from delivery service providers. The original proposal of the European Commission for a Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services had the potential to help create a level playing field for competing parcel delivery operators and thereby – ultimately – for online merchants throughout Europe. Nevertheless, given the more recent legislative developments, the undersigned associations have specific concerns regarding the draft Regulation. 

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EuroCommerce co-signs letter on EPC work on extended remittance information for SEPA payments
05 Jul 2017 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce, in association with a number of pan-European stakeholders representing the digital, retail and payments sectors, has co-signed a letter addressed to the European Payments Council regarding the  extended remittance information for SEPA payments. In the letter , the signatories are  reiterating their strong support for the elimination of the current limitations in the SEPA schemes. From a Corporates’ perspective, the full benefits of SEPA can only be realised if SEPA payments are accompanied by efficient and standardised   payment communication and reconciliation. The current SEPA scheme limitations do not fulfill these expectations as the SEPA scheme limits remittance information both in form and in length, contrary to the underlying ISO20022 standard.

For these reasons the following requests are made to the EPC:

  • The remittance information should be extended to multiple amount of occurrences of structured remittance information.
  • The current limit of 140 characters should be extended and both structured and unstructured information should be allowed within the same payment message.
  • Any extension of remittance information should be done end to end  via the currently used ISO 20022 messages and should flow from the originator through PSPs/ACHs to the beneficiary.

 

To read the full letter, please click  here.

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Retailers commend Commission decision on Polish tax as unlawful state aid
03 Jul 2017 open-close-item
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Speaking today in response to the Commission’s conclusion of its in-depth investigation initiated in September 2016 against the Polish retail tax, EuroCommerce Director-General, Christian Verschueren, said:

“The Commission’s conclusion that the Polish retail tax is unlawful state aid gives a very welcome and clear signal to Member States on what is considered discriminatory or not. To ensure fair competition in the internal market, taxes and fees should be non-discriminatory, proportionate and justified.”

EuroCommerce and its members fully support the Commission in its decision. It confirms EuroCommerce’s earlier assessment that the tax was incompatible with EU state aid rules and discriminatory against non-Polish retailers. Verschueren added:

“The Polish tax was yet another example of a worrying trend among too many Member States towards a protectionist agenda. Particularly, but by no means exclusively in Central and Eastern Europe, we see measures being proposed that undermine the Single Market. Protectionism is not just a political act – it is a direct attack on consumers’ ability to choose what they want to buy, and almost inevitably leads to higher prices. Retailers and wholesalers live by offering that choice and promoting competitive prices. ”

The Commission’s announcement is available here.

~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 - timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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Ecommerce continues to prosper in Europe, but markets grow at different speeds
26 Jun 2017 open-close-item
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Online retail in Europe is growing exponentially, particularly in Southern Europe. This is one of the many interesting findings of the European Ecommerce Report 2017. Today, Ecommerce Europe, EuroCommerce and the Ecommerce Foundation jointly presented this report in Brussels. The report shows ecommerce[1] trends, facts and figures, and offers insights into each of the European ecommerce markets.

Ms. Marlene ten Ham, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe, stated: “We are very pleased with the figures that are presented in the report, as stimulating European ecommerce is one of our main objectives. We strive to create a level playing field for online trading in EU countries and our work is more likely to be successful when we gather the right facts & figures”.

European ecommerce turnover increased by 15% to €530 billion in 2016. For 2017, the European B2C ecommerce turnover is forecasted to reach around €602 billion, at a growth rate of nearly 14%. Key trends identified in the report show that the proportion of companies with more than 10 employees having a website is continuously growing - from 67% of all retail companies in 2010 to 77% in 2016. Yet only 18% of them sell through their website. However, the pace of this growth varies regionally across European markets. Western European countries continue to lead the way, as the largest market for ecommerce, with the UK topping the list with approximately 33% of the European online sales. In the mature ecommerce markets, the proportion of consumers shopping online is highest, 87% in the UK, 84% in Denmark and 82% in Germany for 2016. In contrast, the share of people shopping online are the lowest in Romania, Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Nonetheless, Central and Eastern European Countries achieved the highest ecommerce sales growth in 2016; in Romania sales increased by 38%, and the market in Slovakia and Estonia grew by 35%, Ukraine saw a growth of 31%, and Poland and Bulgaria grew by 25%. Ecommerce, combined with the EU Single Market, is an opportunity to sell and shop across border without travelling or setting up shop in another country. 33% of online shoppers purchased abroad in 2016, with Luxembourg, Russia and Switzerland topping the list of cross-border online purchases (each over 60%).

Online purchasing is more popular with the younger generation: two-thirds of 16-24 year olds purchase online frequently, in comparison to one-third of the 55-74 year olds. The report also reveals challenges still faced by consumers in their online shopping experience. The three main complaints include speed of delivery (17%), technical failures (13%) and damaged goods (9%).

Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce commented: “Ecommerce and the digitalisation of retail and wholesale are changing our sector fundamentally, creating new business opportunities and models, new jobs and new forms of interaction with consumers. Many more consumers are buying online and many more retailers are selling online; more significantly, both are combining online and offline shopping seamlessly into what is becoming omnichannel retailing. And the EU can help: Europe needs policies to foster these developments and allow consumers and traders to make the most of the potential of a market of 500 million Europeans. Europe can be powerhouse for ecommerce, but we still have some way to go to get the environment right for this to be achieved.”

~ENDS~

Contact:

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 - timaru@eurocommerce.eu
Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Merel van Doorn - +31657569226 - merelvandoorn@ecommerce-europe.eu

Metje van der Meer: +31 6 484 562 82 - metje.van.der.meer@ecommercefoundation.org
Sara Lone: +31 6 13 96 90 54 - sara.lone@ecommercefoundation.org

 

EuroCommerce is the principal European organisation representing the retail and wholesale sector. It embraces national associations in 31 countries and 5.4 million companies, both leading multinational retailers such as Carrefour, Ikea, Metro and Tesco, and many small family operations. Retail and wholesale provide a link between producers and 500 million European consumers over a billion times a day. It generates 1 in 7 jobs, providing a varied career for 29 million Europeans, many of them young people. It also supports millions of further jobs throughout the supply chain, from small local suppliers to international businesses. EuroCommerce is the recognised European social partner for the retail and wholesale sector.

About EcommerceEurope: Through its 20 national associations, Ecommerce Europe represents over 25,000 online shops across Europe. Its mission: boost the ecommerce industry by helping decision makers shape policies fit for future sustainable growth. To do so, Ecommerce Europe takes initiatives to come up with innovative market solutions, provides a platform for expert discussion and facilitates connections between online retailers and relevant stakeholders. It also highlights the importance of ecommerce to the economy through the provision of in2depth research on the European and global markets. Additionally, Ecommerce Europe stimulates the industry by developing initiatives like its European Trustmark label, with the aim of increasing consumers’ trust in cross-border purchases.

The Ecommerce Foundation is an independent non2profit organization, initiated by worldwide national ecommerce associations, as well as online and omnichannel selling companies from industries such as retail, travel & finance. Our mission is to foster global digital trade, as peace is the natural effect of trade. By facilitating digital commerce we hope to make the world a slightly better place.



[1] E-commerce in this report is seen as any B2C contract on the sale of products or services fully or partly concluded by a technique for distance communication.

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Retailers regret farmers' lobby continuing to focus on wrong issues in the food supply chain
21 Jun 2017 open-close-item
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Following the announcement by Commissioner Hogan at the European Parliament Agriculture committee yesterday of the launch of a process leading to proposals on trading practices, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren posed a number of questions on the continued calls from some for legislation, and the Commission decision to take the first steps towards proposing EU measures:

"We are pleased that the Commission is following its better regulation guidelines in producing an inception impact assessment for consultation. What we will look for in that process is answers to a set of core questions which any better regulation exercise needs to ask - what a proposed measure will do, what problem is it meant to solve, and whether it will do so. Better regulation is not about a process, but a real commitment, which we have seen the Commission follow, to only put forward measures which address the real problems and help the competitiveness of the European economy."

EuroCommerce will take a constructive part in the consultative process which the Commission will launch with its impact assessment. It will, however, want to ask:

  • if retailers only buy 5% of the goods they sell  direct from farmers, how will imposing EU rules on their contractual negotiations, largely with the large multinational food processors, do anything for farmers?
  • if countries with no legislation, but well-organised farmers, have healthy agricultural sectors, while countries with very intrusive legislation go from one crisis to the next, what effect can EU legislation bring about?
  • if most food retailers buy is from suppliers in the same country as it is sold, not least because large manufacturers fragment the EU market and do not allow cross-border purchasing, what single market issues are being addressed by EU harmonization?
  • if EU rules still allow fundamentally different national rules to apply, what harmonisation will these achieve?

Verschueren added:

"We do not downplay the real problems which farmers face, and will support measures which can really address them. We want farmers to be able to organize to improve their bargaining power, both in buying vital inputs and selling their produce, while respecting competition rules.

We support ideas around market transparency and contractualisation, as well as other measures to help farmers weather the inevitable volatility that a global market involves. Above all, retailers want to build a real dialogue at European and national level to help ensure that farmers can produce the food in the right quantities and quality consumers want to buy. No legislation will ever be a substitute for that."

 

~ENDS~

For further information, please contact:

Neil McMillan - +32 2 737 05 99 - mcmillan@eurocommerce.eu

Kinga Timaru-Kast - +32 2 894 64 83 - timaru@eurocommerce.eu

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Filter by:

all

2017

2016

2015

2014

Filter by:

all

2017

2016

2015

2014

older

Consumer rights

Employment and social affairs

Environment

European retail action plan

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation

Filter by:

all

Consumer rights

Employment and social affairs

Environment

European retail action plan

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation