European eBay Businesses Face Regulatory Barriers to Cross-Border Sales

December 1, 2010

Small and medium enterprises – SMEs -- still face a number of regulatory barriers selling from one country to another, eBay’s Director of SME Businesses Jody Ford told business community and policy makers of the United Kingdom (U.K.).

Mr. Ford cited unnecessary differences in current consumer protection laws, even within the European Union, as a notable example. He addressed the U.K. leadership during the Global Entrepreneurship Week, which took place Nov. 15-21 in 104 countries around the world.

“E-commerce provides access to the global market,” Mr. Ford said. “Nine out of 10 eBay businesses export to Europe and beyond and are increasingly taking advantage of fluctuating exchange rates and geographical demand. However significant barriers remain, often preventing these online entrepreneurs from reaching their global potential.

“Currently, if a small business wants to sell to other EU countries, it needs to comply with as many as 27 different sets of consumer protection rules. According to the Online Business Index (eBay’s barometer of online firms), 58% believe this is a barrier,” he said. “The rules need to be simplified - almost half (41%) say that simpler rules would encourage them to grow their business overseas. And 44% say they would even be prepared to accept tougher rules in exchange for a simpler, more straightforward system.”

eBay’s Government Relations team is committed to working with governments at national and European levels in order to provide SMEs with a fair, safe and straightforward online business environment.