06 May 2015
The European Commission (EC) is to investigate competition in the e-commerce sector in all EU member states.
The inquiry forms part of the recent framework of the Digital Single Market Strategy adopted on 6 May 2015.
According to the EC, the inquiry will focus particularly on potential barriers created by companies to cross-border online trade in goods and services where e-commerce is most widespread such as electronics, clothing and shoes, as well as digital content.More and more goods and services are traded over the internet but cross-border online sales within the EU are only growing slowly.
The EC adds that its Digital Single Market Strategy identifies a number of regulatory barriers that hinder cross-border e-commerce. It proposes to address these and create an area where citizens and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of free competition, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence.
If, after analysing the results, the EC identifies specific competition concerns, it could open case investigations to ensure compliance with EU rules on restrictive business practices and abuse of dominant market positions.
The EC states that in the coming weeks, it will send requests for information to a range of stakeholders throughout the EU. The companies concerned may include, for example, manufacturers and wholesalers as well as e-commerce retailers. Under EU antitrust rules, the EC can require companies and trade associations to supply information, documents or statements as part of a sector inquiry.