Will the EU demand you translate your ecommerce website into Finnish?

The European Commission will launch an inquiry into ecommerce to ensure that practices aren’t stifling cross-border trade and a single EU digital market, according to a report on the lawyer.com.

The inquiry will cover manufacturers and retailers, online content service providers and online platforms such as marketplaces and price comparison websites.

According to the report from Eversheds: “On 6 May the European Commission (“the Commission”) announced the launch of a competition law inquiry into the e-commerce sector, where it is believed that companies who engage in selling via the internet may be employing methods to restrict online trade with the aim, in particular, of territorial fragmentation and restriction of price competition.”

The aim seems to be to ensure that cross-border trade (CBT) within the EU isn’t being hampered and citizens in certain countries aren’t disadvantaged.

In the report, one comment leapt out regarding languages: “One issue the Commission will consider is cross-border availability of digital content, such as multiple language options on websites.”

This raises the question as to whether the EU might be considering rules requiring ecommerce websites to enable CBT with language considerations. We know how they think already: the so-called #vatmoss regs have been a real problem for sellers of digital goods within the EU.

The good news is that the sluggish pace of EU bureaucracy means that the report won’t be published until some point in 2017 and the implementation of any recommendations will take much longer. Tamebay will keep you posted.