To increase the European consumer confidence in cross-border shopping and shipping new ecommerce rules keep on coming. In February Ecommerce Europe held a successful working committee with national and sector specific legal, payments and logistics experts, including from the European Commission, to a series of Working Committee meetings in Brussels. All attendees had a great opportunity to exchange views and information between national e-commerce associations and businesses on new opportunities and threats brought by the recent developments at European level and to define the policy orientation and priorities of the European association.
Cross-border shopping and shipping via mail service
What to do when you are currently using a cheap mail service into Europe for your cross-border ecommerce shipments. To prevent the yearly 50 billion euros of fraud by mainly Chinese but also US merchants, the EU Commission has accepted and approved the new rules by the European Parliament with 604 in favour, 80 against, and 12 abstentions, as part of the e-commerce package.
All parcel delivery service providers (mail and integrators) will be required to provide their tariffs for a predefined list of most used services. The Commission will publish the prices on a dedicated website to enable consumers and businesses to compare domestic and cross border tariffs between member states and between providers and opt for the best deal. By contributing to healthy competition, the new regulation should encourage the reduction of unreasonable differences between shipping tariffs. Europe is not going to pay the difference anymore since the UPU enables to ship a phone cover for just $ 0,39 from China to Europe where Europe is paying for the difference compared to the actual delivery cost of approximately $ 3,00.
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
Established in 1874, the Universal Postal Union (UPU), with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne, is the second oldest international organization worldwide. With its 192 global member countries, the UPU is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail, parcel and financial services volumes. Mail was slightly different back in 1874 compared to the current amount of global ecommerce parcels shipped below 2 kilos’ and making use of the cheap and subsidised UPU shipping tariffs.
Cross-border shopping and shipping via the integrators
As we all know, these low value ecommerce shipments send via the 1874 UPU rules and tariffs are not shipped via the integrators (DHL, UPS and FedEx). Their shipping cost are way too expensive for these low value shipments and therefore send via consolidators partnering with European brokers taking all the risks. Next to that, European tax exemptions are not applicable anymore when you ship in bulk due to the ‘new’ Union Customs Code (UCC) of May 2016.
Of course, the integrators also want to have these low value ecommerce shipments shipped via consolidators from China, US and other continents. They even currently lobbying for the same thresholds as the US, Australia and Russia where there are no import duties and taxes for import shipments up to $ 800 per shipment. Luckily enough the European commission wants to prevent this to protect the European market, prevent IP fraud and stop the low value ecommerce fraud missing out on European import duties and taxes. Even though it’s not just low value ecommerce fraud, the high value ecommerce fraud is absorbed in the new European 2020 rules as well. Europe wants to collect all import duties and taxes for each individual shipment coming into Europe based on compliant and real time data and even real invoices to be handed over.
Empowering national authorities in Europe to assess tariffs
New The rules will also empower national authorities I Europe to assess tariffs for cross-border parcel delivery services which are subject to universal service obligation but seem unreasonably high via the integrators for non-European merchants or extremely low due to the use of postal services. The new rules will put a stronger emphasis on providing information to consumers making cross-border purchases on prices, cross border delivery options and complaint handling policies. This way European postal services will need to have a far more comprehensive data file to do a clearance per parcel, real-time and compliant instead of the monthly declaration when all parcels are already delivered, and physical checks by customs are made impossible.
New European ecommerce rules and your current European business and strategy
If you are looking for a better and compliant solution to avoid and or automate these kinds of new rules in your checkout or you want to improve and stay in control of the customer journey into Europe, consider the benefits of working with a partner who can help.
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