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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 calls for action to create level playing field with China in online sales to European consumers
27 Sep 2016 open-close-item
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Speaking on the occasion of the Universal Postal Congress currently taking place in Istanbul, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren pointed to problems of consumer safety and fair competition arising from the massive growth in online sales of products sent directly from China to individual EU consumers: “Online traders in the EU face unequal competition from China on two fronts: firstly, parcel post rates in China are held artificially low by a concession for developing countries under the Universal Postal Union (UPU). This can mean that a package from China costs less to send than sending the same package from another EU country. Secondly, according to tests carried out recently by EU member state authorities, many of these packages contain goods which do not conform to EU safety and quality standard,. These would not be allowed to be imported normally – and this can pose a real threat to  EU consumers.”

 

Following on from a letter from the Nordic members of EuroCommerce last month to the Commission, EuroCommerce is calling on member countries of the UPU to review the system of so-called terminal dues.  This system was established in 1874 to provide for postal operators sending international letters and parcels to pay for the cost of the final delivery in the other country. There was a concession built into this allowing developing countries to pay a lot less in terminal dues. This was on the basis that most developing countries did not send very much post to developed countries, and needed support in creating a functional postal service. countries. The situation has changed since then, and the present system is no longer appropriate for a number of countries such as China.

 

While knowing that rule changes in the UPU are difficult, EuroCommerce, on behalf of the EU’s retailers and wholesalers, calls upon the  world's postal decision-makers gathered at the 26th Universal Postal Congress to consider ways of making the situation more equitable to all. The present concession means that the European e-commerce market is being distorted, and it is also causing major losses to EU postal operators.

 

EuroCommerce also calls upon the Commission and Member States’ customs and market surveillance authorities to act, and deal with non-conform products entering the EU from third countries.  Some postal operators are already checking packages coming in from China and elsewhere, but these checks need to be stepped up, and the existing alert system for dangerous products adjusted to take account of direct imports by consumers. Finally, we need online platforms to help by taking off products which do not conform to EU regulations.

 

~ENDS~

 

For further information, please contact:

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

Alexandra Simon +32 2 737 05 85 - simon@eurocommerce.eu

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B2B goes digital: EuroCommerce conference underlines impact of digital technology on wholesale
27 Sep 2016 open-close-item
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Mr. Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, and Austrian MEP Paul Rübig took part today in a high-level conference organised today by EuroCommerce to look at how digital technology is transforming wholesale, and the skills it needs to meet this challenge, and to contribute to a competitive EU economy.

 

Commissioner Oettinger said at the conference: “The Commission is committed to boosting the digitisation of the European industry through the full implementation of its Digital Single Market Strategy. This digitisation will affect the whole supply and operations chain and will therefore have a strong impact on wholesalers who act as middlemen in commerce. Wholesalers have to take up this challenge in order to benefit fully from the efficiency gains with digitisation can provide. Through their own e-commerce activities, wholesalers have already proven that they can succeed as well in this particular form of trade.”

 

Though not always visible to the general public, wholesale is a major job engine at the centre of Europe’s economy. It plays a pivotal role as an interface between producers, importers, manufacturers, retail and service providers. More than 7% of the EU’s non-financial business economy workforce is in the B2B sector. As wholesale offers high-quality skilled jobs, its labour productivity is above average. Most of the jobs in wholesale are generated by SMEs.

 

Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce underlined the need for EU policy to support this transformation: “Wholesale in Europe stands for almost 2 million companies, almost EUR 6 trillion in turnover and more than 10 million jobs. EU policymakers need to recognise the contribution of B2B trade to growth, jobs and wealth in Europe, and create a policy framework which helps the sector continue to be able to make this contribution in an efficient and productive way ”. 

 

MEP Paul Rübig added : “Wholesale is crucial for Europe´s growth and employment, as wholesale companies are at the heart of trade in goods and services worldwide, providing consumers with products from all corners of the world. Hence, it is essential that the EU helps in dismantling barriers to market access and the import and export of goods and services. Digitalisation plays an important role for the wholesale trade, being a virtual intermediary for communication through information systems”.

 

~ENDS~

 

For further information, please contact:

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

Alexandra Simon +32 2 737 05 85 - simon@eurocommerce.eu

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EuroCommerce presses for harmonised, balanced, simple rules for consumer guarantees, both online and offline
27 Sep 2016 open-close-item
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Speaking at a European Parliament SME Interest Group meeting hosted by MEP Maria Grapini and attended by MEP Pascal Arimont, the rapporteur on the revision of the Sales and Guarantees Directive, EuroCommerce supported the Commission proposal for full harmonisation of consumer guarantees across the EU, and welcomed the move in discussions so far towards including offline sales.

But the rules needed to be simple and easily understood, and also strike a balance between consumers and traders, particularly since 95% of retailers are micro-businesses operating only locally. EuroCommerce e-commerce adviser Joanna Lopatowska said:

“We are keen to see consumers’ rights harmonised, so that customers know where they stand whether they buy online or in a shop. Equally, small (web)shops need to be able to deal with these new rules with the minimum of administrative burden and to afford the cost of complying with the new rules, particularly if and when they want to serve consumers abroad.  This means that we need a simple set of rules, balancing consumers’ expectations with the ability of all retailers to meet these without major commercial burdens.”

The draft directive for consumer guarantees in online sales was proposed by the Commission in December 2015, and is currently being discussed in the European Parliament. EuroCommerce has consistently pressed for the same rules to apply across the EU, and for there to be a level playing field for sales online and in physical shops, particularly since digital technology has blurred the distinction between the two.

 

~ENDS~

 

For further information, please contact:

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

Alexandra Simon +32 2 737 05 85 - simon@eurocommerce.eu

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The Sustainability Narrative
26 Sep 2016 open-close-item
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This Narrative highlights the challenges we face with a growing world population, climate change and shrinking biodiversity and resources. It shows the concrete steps that retailers and wholesalers are taking to improve their environmental footprint and help consumers do so too. It also stresses the EU policies needed to support and promote these actions. 

Supply Chain Narrative - scroll down

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New Bulgarian Food Law will deny consumers choice and raise prices
19 Sep 2016 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce warned that a proposed new Bulgarian draft Food Act could lead to less competition, denying consumers in Bulgaria a choice of goods, and raising prices. The proposed law, which has been notified to the European Commission[1] would require all food sold in Bulgaria to have original packaging printed in Bulgarian, and prohibit retailers or importers adding the required information in Bulgarian being added later to existing packaging as is common practice in other countries.

 

EuroCommerce believes that the draft law clearly infringes the Food Information Regulation and represents a major obstacle to the free movement of goods. It has asked the Commission to make sure the final law is in line with EU law.

 

EuroCommerce sees this as yet another example of member states retreating from building a single market which has already brought benefits to everyone in Europe. Christian Verschueren, Director General of EuroCommerce, said:

 

“This is starting to become a trend. Different Member States have in recent years introduced discriminatory laws targeting foreign retailers and foreign products.  The beauty of the Single Market is that it has opened the door for consumers everywhere in Europe to the diversity and richness of Europe's food products. Now, one government after the other, today the Bulgarian, is shutting that door on foreign food products This approach pays no attention to consumers’ interests, and is effectively saying that state regulation should decide what consumers can buy and how much they pay for it. We welcome the action the Commission has taken in the past, and hope that they will in the future, to guarantee consumer choice.”'

 

EuroCommerce fully supports product information important to consumers and their safety being required in a language understandable to them. For foreign food products, it is common practice, and allowed by EU law, to add a sticker with this information if the producer has not already provided this in a particular language. By prohibiting this relatively efficient way of providing mandatory information, the Bulgarian government is creating a significant trade barrier and potentially denying their consumers access to a whole range of foreign products. Foreign food sold or produced in low volumes will be hit hard. The costs of repackaging could mean that foreign small-volume and speciality goods will simply not be available on the Bulgarian Market.

 

 [1] Notification under the (EU) 2015/1535 procedure: full notification available here (TRIS - 2016/318/BG)

 

~ENDS~

 

For further information, please contact:

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

Alexandra Simon +32 2 737 05 85 - simon@eurocommerce.eu

 

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The Supply Chain Narrative
12 Sep 2016 open-close-item
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As the next in the series of individual narratives covering each of the priority, we have now launched our narrative on the Supply Chain. This narrative seeks to explain how the sector is working to implement fair trading throughout the supply chain and how the Supply Chain Initiative provides an effective framework for achieving this. It also stresses the importance of the EU avoiding confusing structural problems in the agricultural sector with issues surrounding fair dealings with the supply chain.

Supply Chain Narrative - scroll down

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Joint Press Release: EU businesses call for customs procedures to focus on economic growth and increased trade
08 Sep 2016 open-close-item

EU businesses throughout the value chain could benefit significantly if customs were better integrated with economic and trade policy and implemented identically across the EU. These were the key messages arising from a high-level conference on the state of the new Union Customs Code and the future of EU Customs held by 7 leading trade bodies (AmCham EU, CLECAT, EuroCommerce, the European Express Association, the Foreign Trade Association, IATA and the World Shipping Council, with support of EurTradeNet).

 

This event, supported by the World Customs Organisation and held at their Brussels headquarters, was the first forum of its kind to successfully bring together all stakeholders on EU customs policy after the new Union Customs Code entered into force in May 2016.  Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici delivered the keynote speech. Participants, including business leaders and key representatives from the EU Institutions, discussed in depth a number of ways in which customs could act as a tool for business competitiveness and facilitating trade, while supporting the EU’s security and safety.

 

The conference looked at two broad themes: a future vision for customs policy, and lessons learned from the modernisation programme. One important conclusion reached was that, while the UCC had only just entered into force, there was scope for further improvements to be considered in the coming years. In particular, the new electronic customs systems which need to implement elements of the UCC by 2020. The business community needs a much more coordinated, efficient and harmonised interface with customs across the EU and many regard 2020 as a very challenging deadline.

 

Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce, who introduced the conference, stressed the significant impact customs procedures have on EU businesses in all sectors: “Customs must of course ensure that our borders are secure and that the goods are properly imported. But customs procedures also impose burdens and impact directly the free flow of products for businesses and consumers. Whether you are a shipper, an importer, an exporter, an express deliverer, a carrier, a freight forwarder, a wholesaler or a retailer, customs touch businesses at every part of the value supply chain. Making sure that customs procedures work smoothly and efficiently, by taking account of their key role in the competitiveness of our economies, will make a significant contribution to growth and jobs in Europe and around the world.“

 

This is an aspect CLECAT President, Steve Parker supported in his closing remarks, where he added: “The question is how we turn the lessons and aspirations for customs policy into constructive steps for the next stage of the UCC. I hope we can work closely with our conference partners and the Commission to identify the key points into  a road map that can be built into the business planning process and set some structure and boundaries around it.”

To download the Joint Statement, please click here.

 

For more information, contact:

Graham Austin, gla@gbatbeckenham.co.uk

Chris Goater, +41 22 770 26 15, GoaterC@iata.org

Ralph Kamphöner, +32 2 737 05 88, kamphoener@eurocommerce.eu

Anne Marie Kappel, +1 202 589 1235, akappel@worldshipping.org

Maite Miret, +34 609 060577, miret@eurtradenet.org

Robert Murphy, +32 2 5034705, murphy@clecat.org  

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Agriculture crisis: retailers call on EU governments to support structural reform instead of gesture politics
08 Sep 2016 open-close-item
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Ahead of the informal meeting of agriculture ministers in Bratislava on 11-13 September, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren called on ministers to help structural reform to create a sustainable agriculture sector rather than resort to empty policy gestures:

 

“We know that agriculture is going through a very difficult period, and retailers have sought to give farmers real help. We need a diverse, healthy and competitive farming sector able, now and in the future, to provide Europe’s 500 million consumers with the varied, quality food they need and want. Europe’s leaders will do hard-working farmers a real disservice if they focus on legislative gestures rather than helping them address the structural problems they face”, Verschueren said.

 

Writing to Agriculture Council President Gabriele Matečná, EuroCommerce underlines that retailers recognise agriculture as an important part of the food supply chain, and that throughout the agriculture crisis, they have shown solidarity with farmers. EuroCommerce draws ministers’ attention to the key facts underlying the problems facing farming. The current crisis arises from short-term and structural issues. Retailers have few direct contracts with farmers, and their ability to influence the market remains limited. What retailers have on their shelves has normally undergone one or more stages of processing, and the primary agricultural product in them only represents a small portion of the final cost. An example of the wrong focus of the debate is in the retail price of liquid milk: this represents less than 20% of total milk production, the remaining 80% going to processing, exports and catering.

 

In its letter, EuroCommerce calls on EU governments to develop concrete policies that address these structural issues, help agriculture to become better organised, more responsive to market signals and to consumer demand. Europe needs a culture of dialogue among sectors and operators, and EuroCommerce asks governments to support the Supply Chain Initiative and other self-regulatory instruments. These act to make fair trading practice the norm and encourage operators to resolve their disputes rather than break business relationships.

 

Christian Verschueren added: “Presenting regulation of trading practices and other aspects of the supply chain at EU level as the remedy to farmers’ problems is simply misleading. It lets down farmers facing real problems caused by completely different factors. These often-heard demands will do nothing to help them, and will simply penalise consumers through higher prices, reduced choice and innovation”.

 

EuroCommerce’s recommendations on how to address the agriculture crisis and create a sustainable and competitive food supply chain, while maintaining the single market for agricultural goods, are set out in a paper addressed to the EU Agriculture Markets Task Force.

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VIDEOS: Kenneth Bengtsson presenting retail & wholesale
16 Aug 2016 open-close-item

EuroCommerce President Kenneth Bengtsson talks about retail and wholesale in Europe and the issues which EuroCommerce is active in representing to decision-makers. This is all aimed at ensuring a regulatory environment which allows the sector to serve its customers with the best products at reasonable and competitive prices. The short videos, available here, cover

  1. EuroCommerce representing retail & wholesale
  2. EuroCommerce & retail
  3. EuroCommerce & wholesale
  4. EuroCommerce & Single Market
  5. EuroCommerce & Supply Chain
  6. EuroCommerce & International Trade

We hope that you will find these interesting and giving a useful insight into the wide range of policy areas which impact our sector.

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Contribution to the consultation on the Start Up Initiative
20 Jul 2016 open-close-item
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EuroCommerce welcomes the consultation on the “Start-Up initiative”, which we see as an opportunity to renew a commitment to SME appropriate legislation and give SME policy more visibility. On this basis, we call on the European Commission to address through this consultation the needs of all types and sizes of SMEs and not only technology start-ups and fast growing firms, which only represent a minority of businesses.

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Filter by:

all

2016

2015

2014

2013

Filter by:

all

2016

2015

2014

2013

older

Consumer rights

Corporate social responsibility

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

Corporate social responsibility

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