Paul Todd SVP eBay’s thoughts on the Digital Single Market

Paul Todd SVP eBayPaul Todd is Senior Vice President of eBay, responsible for eBay’s business and operations across the whole of the EMEA region. His aim is to help small businesses unlock global opportunities and drive growth.

He’s just published an article focussing on the problems and the frustrations which European small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) encounter on a daily basis when selling overseas.

In the article Paul notes that “SMBs are at the heart of the European economy. They are engines of growth, wealth and job creation. Between 2009 and 2014, two million new jobs were created by SMBs in Europe. Data from eBay shows that 93% of all eBay SMBs in the EU exported, compared to an average of 26% of offline sellers between 2010-2014. They reach, on average, 18 different countries – 10 countries within the EU“.

Paul goes on to point out that the complexity of legislation and regulations across Europe limits SMBs capacity to compete on a global scale, such as the reality of having to deal with 28 different legislative and tax regimes – and that’s just the EU.

The article wraps up saying that just as Europe fought to dismantle trade barriers in the offline world, so too must we fight to remove online trade barriers. The costs for carrying out commerce within the EU are four times lower on eBay compared to traditional commerce but more needs to be done to tear down the barriers that still hold Europe back is Paul’s conclusion.

The article comes at an interesting time with the In/Out EU referendum just a couple of months away. Personally I think that regardless which way the country votes, when we’re looking at online commerce we’ll still need to do business with Europe and the red tape, 28 tax regimes (remember the VAT MOSS fiasco) and other assorted legislation has to be simplified to allow the online economy to flourish.

The full article is well worth a read and includes some real life case studies of eBay sellers. It’s always good to know what direction eBay’s senior management are taking and Paul will be publishing more articles in the future – you can follow him on LinkedIn by clicking the “Follow” link at the top of the article and on Twitter.