The European Commission has proposed an optional Common European Sales Law that is to transcend barriers to cross-border trade in the EU. The law now needs to be approved by EU Member States and the European Parliament.
Different national sales laws of the 27 EU countries make selling abroad complicated and costly for businesses, especially small companies. Contract law obstacles are depriving European consumers from greater choice and lower prices and can leave them without protection when buying in another country – surveys show that as much as 44% of Europeans say they do not buy abroad because they are uncertain of their rights.
In reaction the European Commission proposed a Common European Sales Law to facilitate trade across the EU.
The Common European Sales law will be optional, meaning that the legislation will exist in parallel to the national consumer laws in Member States. The Sales Law will be applicable only in both parties in the trade will voluntarily and expressly agree to it.
The law will offer a single set of rules for cross-border contracts, significantly reducing the cost of cross-border trade for companies, allowing them to expand to new EU markets. Consumers will have the option of choosing a ‘European contract’ with a high level of protection and will experience a surge in offers available to them, as well a decrease in prices.
The Common European Sales Law will be applicable to contracts for the sale of goods, as well as digital content contracts, such as music, films, software or smart-phone applications. As a unified set of trade rules is especially applicable to the online supply of goods, the European Commission expects the law to also significantly boost e-Commerce.
However, EurActiv reports that the industry has reservations about the proposed legislation and feels that eCommerce faces many other more serious obstacles, like language and VAT rules across the EU.
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