On 29 May, the eBay Government Relations team coordinated a workshop in the French Parliament that included four different MPs and representatives from the postal service and customs administration. The objective was to promote more digital customs procedures – a better fit with our small sellers’ needs.
From left to right: A.-F. Canton, H. Guillemet, French Customs Directorate; J.-F. Césarini, B. Tan, M. Lebec, Members of the National Assembly; C. Cheynard, eBay Government Relations Manager; C. Hennion, Member of the National Assembly; R. Mazza, S. Lungu, Groupe La Poste (French postal service).
For over an hour, inside Salon Mansart at the National Assembly, the workshop participants discussed how to simplify the existing process for small online sellers to export individual parcels outside of the EU. The current rules require exporters to attach globally standardized customs declaration forms, which are still often paper-based. On the other side, customs officials are challenged by the fragmentation of trade flows by e-commerce into billions of small parcels and almost as many exporting agents. eBay has therefore long been the promoter of innovative customs solutions such as a one-stop online portal where SMBs could fill out their forms while officials would collect the data to ensure faster processing. The debate last Tuesday showed that some tools are actually already in place, both on the postal and customs sides, only they are dispersed and with low popularity among online sellers. The MPs endorsed a project to clarify and better communicate these processes, and asked for further coordination between eBay, La Poste and French customs, to lead to an updated portal proposal. This new document will be presented to them within a few months, after feasibility has been discussed by all parties.
This work is part of eBay Government Relations’ continued commitment to remove all barriers to export for small and medium-sized sellers - especially where larger retailers benefit from easier conditions and single points of contact - to create greater SMB competitiveness.