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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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EU-Vietnam agreements a major step forward and need to be implemented soon
01 Jul 2019 open-close-item
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Speaking today after the signature over the weekend in Hanoi of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade and Investment Protection Agreements, EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren commented:

“We have been pressing for a free trade agreement with Vietnam for many years. We are therefore very pleased that Commissioner Malmström and her Vietnamese counterpart were able to sign these two agreements yesterday in Hanoi. This is the most ambitious EU agreement ever signed with a developing country, and after more than three years since the initial deal was struck, we hope to see the agreements ratified and in force as soon as possible.”

The negotiations between the EU and Vietnam were concluded in December 2016, but legal review and the translation, as well as concerns about labour standards in Vietnam, slowed down the process of taking the agreements forward. It was therefore a very welcome that the Council last week gave a green light for signature, and that the signing ceremony could take place on 30 June in Hanoi.

Vietnam has recently ratified one of three outstanding International Labour Organisation conventions on workers’ rights, and developed a timetable for the other two conventions and set out its plans to revise its Labour Code.

The EU-Vietnam FTA will eliminate over 99% of the existing tariffs at present in force. Vietnam will liberalise 65% of import duties on EU exports to Vietnam at entry into force of the agreement, with the remainder of duties on, for example, dairy products and wines and spirits being gradually eliminated over a 5-10-year period. EU duties will be eliminated over the next 7 years. Vietnam has also committed to substantially improve access for EU companies to a broad range of service sectors. The agreement contains provisions on e-commerce and a comprehensive chapter on sustainability which guarantees environmental and human rights standards.

In 2018 the EU imported goods worth €38.3 billion from Vietnam and exported €11.1 billion, while exporting services worth €2.3 billion against services imported from Vietnam of €1.8 billion.

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EU-Mercosur good news for Europe and for global trade
01 Jul 2019 open-close-item
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Speaking today after the conclusion of EU-Mercosur Trade agreement EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:
 
“After twenty years of negotiation, we are very happy to see the free trade agreement with Mercosur finally concluded. It is a sign to those who are seeking to return to the law of the jungle in trade, or to write off the liberal economic and social order globally, that 780 million people on both sides of the Atlantic are committed to free trade and the prosperity it brings.  I am also very pleased to see Mercosur governments commit to effective implementation of the Paris climate agreement and to a detailed chapter on sustainable development, including on deforestation”. 

Mercosur is the world’s 7th largest economy and 5th largest market outside the EU with an annual GDP of €2.2 trillion. The EU exported goods to the four Mercosur countries totaling €45 billion, and imported goods from Mercosur worth €42.6 billion in 2018. The EU exported €23 billion worth of services to Mercosur while Mercosur exported services worth €11 billion to the EU.
 
The agreement is the largest ever concluded by the EU. It will eliminate prohibitive tariffs which have held back exports and imports between the two markets, saving EU exporters €4 billion annually. Tariffs on products such clothing and shoes are at present 35%, and effectively stifle trade altogether. These and many others will be eliminated. Although some farming interests have been worried by the prospect of increased imports of primary products,   very high tariffs on premium dairy products, spirits, wines and other grocery products will be eliminated or at least significantly reduced.
 
Reduced tariffs, much simpler customs procedures and more closely-aligned technical standards will make it easier for our sector to help EU producers sell their products in Mercosur countries, and the agreement extends protection to 357 European geographical indications for high-quality EU foods.

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Lithuanian association joins EuroCommerce, making a full house
26 Jun 2019 open-close-item
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The Association of Lithuanian Trade Enterprises (Lietuvos prekybos įmonių asociacija - LPIA) has just joined EuroCommerce as a new member.

EuroCommerce Director-General Christian Verschueren said:

“We are delighted to welcome LPIA as a member: we have missed Lithuania’s voice in our discussions and decision-making for some years. LPIA’s membership now means a historic milestone for the European retail and wholesale federation. This is the first time in its history that EuroCommerce embraces national associations from all 28 Member States of the European Union.”

LPIA was established in 1997 to represent retailers in Lithuania, including in social dialogue. It has 15 active members from food and non-food retailers, including the four largest Lithuanian food retailers as well as networks of small food retailers, drugstores, clothing shops, electronics retailers, retail service providers and convenience stores.

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Single Market for Services remains a top priority for retail and wholesale
24 Jun 2019 open-close-item
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The digital revolution is forcing fundamental change to the retail and wholesale sector. It depends on free movement of goods and services around Europe and the world, and therefore shares with the whole EU economy the imperative of resisting populist pressure to break up the Single Market.

As a contribution to the ongoing debate on how to develop a competitive Europe, EuroCommerce has launched its paper ‘Making the Single Market a fairer, sustainable and globally competitive space’, setting out the retail and wholesale sector’s ideas for the next Commission on how to strengthen and deepen the Single Market and stimulate economic growth and jobs.

These ideas were echoed in a keynote address by Director-General Christian Verschueren at the High-Level Conference on Retail organised by the European Commission last week. He called on policy-makers to stop holding back the powerful potential of services liberalisation to drive economic growth and global competitiveness: “Services make up the lion’s share of the EU GDP, but is an orphan in policy-making. We need policy-makers finally to take the steps to unleash the 300 to 400 billion euros of growth that a functioning Single Market for Services would bring.”

After more than 25 years, the Single Market is still not a reality, either for services, or for goods. Retailers and wholesalers face discriminatory regulation in many member states. In order to make the Single Market a fairer, sustainable and globally competitive space, member states and major brand manufacturers should stop fragmenting the single market. Retailers and wholesalers should be able to source freely from anywhere in the EU, and to provide European consumers with the choice and quality of products they want at a competitive price. Verschueren added: “A strong EU, firmly based on a properly functioning and competitive Single Market, is the best hope we have for developing European champions who can compete globally with the new economic tigers emerging on other continents. Retail and wholesale need regulation fit for the digital age, and an end to discrimination against European companies in Europe.”


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EuroCommerce contribution on market transparency requirements
18 Jun 2019 open-close-item
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The Commission is proposing extending the framework for the weekly collection of representative prices for certain products, to processors, wholesalers and retailers. This is the last measure in set of three initiatives implementing recommendations of the Agri-Markets Task Force in 2016, following on from the Omnibus Regulation, providing farmers derogations from competition law and the directive on Unfair Trading Practices in the food supply chain.

EuroCommerce favours the market oriented approach of the current Common Agricultural Policy. We support, in principle, market transparency and the work of the current price observatories as a means of generating a better understanding of the functioning of the food supply chain at all levels. We have a number of concerns, however, over the design of the current initiative and whether this will help farmers negotiate better terms with their buyers, or retain more added value.

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Ecommerce sector forecasted to continue its steady growth in 2019
11 Jun 2019 open-close-item
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The European online retail sector is once again on a good track towards a prosperous growth throughout 2019. After an increase in turnover by 11.87% to €547 billion in 2018, the European B2C ecommerce turnover is forecasted to grow even further in 2019 by close to 14% to €621 billion. This is one of the main outcomes of the European B2C Ecommerce Report 2019, which is jointly launched today by Ecommerce Europe and EuroCommerce. The report outlines the main facts and figures on the ecommerce sector in Europe and provides detailed insights for each European ecommerce market.

Marlene ten Ham, Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe, commented: “We at Ecommerce Europe are delighted to see that the ecommerce sector continues to grow across Europe. We have tremendous assets that fostered the growth of the sector over the past years, as the 2019 Report shows. However, despite the progress made in the Digital Single Market, companies still face barriers to develop, especially cross-border. Therefore, we need to set ambitious yet achievable actions at EU level for the next years and speed up our efforts. First of all, we need to enforce current regulations before creating new ones. Secondly, we need to harmonize essential rules and standards so that companies can rely on one single set of rules across Europe. And finally, we need more investments in new technologies and digital skills so that ecommerce businesses are empowered to shape Europe’s digital future.”
 
Western Europe is the largest ecommerce market in Europe, with approximately 66% (€363 bn) of total European online retail turnover. Southern Europe follows with 14% (€78 bn) and Northern Europe with 9% (€49 bn).  However, Northern Europeans have the highest spending per e-shopper, with €2,046.
 
Key trends identified in the report show that the country with the highest country online shopping rate[1] (88%) in 2018 is Switzerland, followed by the UK (87%) and Denmark (86%), while the lowest data for online shopping were registered in 2018 in Bulgaria (31%), Romania (26%) and Ukraine (22%).
 
In terms of cross-border purchases, Maltese e-shoppers are most likely to order from another EU seller (89%), followed by Cyprus (83%) and Luxembourg (82%).
 
The report also reveals the reasons for Europeans not to shop online and the challenges that consumers still face when shopping online. Among the main complaints are speed of delivery, trust concerns about receiving and returning goods, complaints and redress concerns, and payment security concerns. Speed of delivery represents a main concern for Montenegro (22%), Hungary (12%) and Turkey (10%), while payments security concerns are strong in Portugal (29%) and Turkey (25%).  
 
Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce, commented: “This report enables us to understand every individual European market. What is clear is that Europe as a whole needs to catch up with the massive progress being made in digital tech and in online commerce in other regions in the world, most notably China and the US. This is a message for business, but also for regulators and policy-makers. We will continue to press for the right conditions for growth in all channels of sales, so that they help European retail to innovate and compete globally. There is a fantastic potential here, with of a market of 500 million reasonably affluent Europeans. Yet too many issues with differing consumer laws, VAT, labelling regimes, and many distribution restrictions deter entrepreneurs and leave this potential untapped.”
 
To download the full version of the report, please visit this website.
 
To get access to the light version of the report, please click here.
 
To download the highlights of the European Ecommerce Report 2019, please click here.
 
[1] % of individuals who purchased online in the past 12 months
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UN World Food Safety Day: EU Agri-food chain’s commitment to safe food for consumers, from farm to fork
07 Jun 2019 open-close-item
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Today is the first World Food Safety Day, following its adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018. To mark the day CELCAA, Copa-Cogeca, EuroCommerce, FEFAC and FoodDrinkEurope are reiterating their commitment to delivering safe food to consumers all around the globe.

Food safety is a joint responsibility for all the partners of the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and is dependent on strong partnerships along the agri-food chain. In addition, feed safety is the basis of safe food of animal origin, and therefore an integral component of global food safety systems.

Europe has the safest food in the world. This is the result of a wide range of regulatory and self-regulatory measures to ensure all products on the market meet the highest standards. Starting with good agricultural and animal practices, and continuing with the compliance with the highest food safety standards and the core long-standing practice of traceability, Europe’s agri-food chain partners have made food safety their number one priority.

Ensuring that food is safe, from a production, marketing, trade and consumption perspective, is a non-negotiable responsibility that all partners along the food chain must adhere to, regardless of their place, for the benefit of everybody in the chain and particularly consumers. 

The Food Safety Platform members (BEUC, CELCAA, Copa-Cogeca, EuroCommerce, FEFAC and FoodDrinkEurope) have also developed an infographic brochure showcasing their joint responsibility in delivering safe food from farm to fork, which can be downloaded here.

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Contact:

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

 

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Safe food for consumers: from farm to fork
07 Jun 2019 open-close-item
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This updated infographic was produced by the Food Safety Platform, which groups key European stakeholder federations, including EuroCommerce, which are concerned with feed and food safety. This platform is aiming at improving communication between the feed and food chain partners on issues of mutual interest.

Food safety is a joint responsibility for all the partners of the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and is dependent on strong partnerships along the agri-food chain. In addition, feed safety is the basis of safe food of animal origin, and therefore an integral component of global food safety systems.

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EuroCommerce letter to the European Banking Authority (EBA) : Implementation of the EBA’s Regulatory Technical Standards on Strong Customer Authentication under PSD2
05 Jun 2019 open-close-item
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The Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) have been under discussion for quite some time. However, the availability of final standards and specifications required for the smooth and effective implementation have been delayed to a point where key stakeholders have a very short lead time to go through the necessary system acceptance testing prior to solutions being deployed.

While EuroCommerce and its members are fully supportive of the RTS and believe that the outcome in the medium to long term will be a reduction in fraud and an improvement in approval rates, it is becoming increasingly clear that, if potential problems are not carefully anticipated, implementation on 14 September may result in major disruption to e-commerce in particular and create significant risk for merchants in the period leading up to their busiest time of the year (Black Friday, Christmas trading, New Year sales) which would in turn harm consumer confidence in payment systems and be detrimental to the entire economy.

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Making the Single Market a fairer, sustainable and globally competitive space
04 Jun 2019 open-close-item
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This paper addresses a number of key issues for retail and wholesale businesses, with recommendations to improve the single market for consumers and business.

The digital and circular transformation of the economy is changing and creating new markets all over the world. Retailers and wholesalers are innovating, adapting and experimenting to explore new products, services and business models to keep up with customer demand. Consumers expect us to provide sustainable and affordable products, at any time at the tip of a finger. At the same time, the global trends already point to slower consumer spending growth, higher consumer prices and disrupted global supply chains.The latter caused by a volatile political environment influenced by populistic arguments including Brexit, unrest at the EU’s borders and an America-first strategy on the other side of the Atlantic. This makes the Single Market even more relevant as Europe’s most powerful instrument for ensuring economic and social prosperity on the European continent. A properly functioning Single Market will enable retail and wholesale to respond to consumer demand and compete in a globally competitive environment.

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Filter by:

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2019

2018

2017

2016

Filter by:

all

2019

2018

2017

2016

older

Consumer rights

Jobs & Skills

Environment

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation

Filter by:

all

Consumer rights

Jobs & Skills

Environment

Food, nutrition and health

Internal market

International trade

Logistics

Non-Food

Payment systems

SMEs

Social dialogue

Supply chain

Taxation