From L to R: Audrey Flores, Magstore and More, Grégory Ponchon, Akacha 26, Frédéric Dallois, Sovereign Antiquités, Xavier Roseren, Deputy (Member of the French Parliament) of Haute-Savoie, Charlotte Cheynard, eBay Government Relations Manager for France
Last Thursday four small business owners, each from a different region of France, came to Paris to meet with their policy-makers and share their hands-on business experiences, challenges and aspirations for the future.
First they met with one of the new members of the French National Assembly, Mr. Xavier Roseren, as well as the staff member of Ms. Olivia Grégoire, both very involved in SMB (small and medium business) and digital issues. Mr. Roseren being the owner of a shop himself in his home region of the Alps mountains, acknowledged the importance of SMBs and retail for the French economy, as well as the importance of e-commerce infrastructure access in even the most remote areas. He vowed to dedicate special attention to these important issues and offered his help in connecting eBay and its sellers with the relevant ministries to move forward on proposals for the digitalization of customs – and to unleash technology-enabled SMBs’ export potential. During these meetings we also handed over our petition, signed by over 15,000 French residents (among a total of 100,000 European participants) that calls for a simple, fair, and SME-friendly VAT system for online commerce. This issue is of the highest importance in the light of current negotiations on cross-border VAT between the governments of EU Member States.
Over lunch, the small business owners had the opportunity to share their stories with Policy officers from the Organizasation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). These international officials are currently involved in the OECD’s horizontal “Going Digital” project, and the entrepreneurs helped inform this project with a focus on legal barriers faced by SMBs upon going online and trading internationally.
Finally, the eBay sellers met with the General Secretariat of European Affairs (SGAE), a government department put under the direct authority of the Prime Minister, in charge of coordinating input from various ministries in order to form a consistent position for France within the European Union. There the sellers raised their most specific concerns about the upcoming VAT reform, and also presented the petition so that the SGAE may in turn hand it over to the Prime Minister’s cabinet and the Ministry of Economy.
eBay Government Relations would like to thank these four sellers for taking time away from their businesses to help represent all French eBay sellers on these important issues.