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European Parliament: "trust marks" could boost e-commerce

Monday 27 September 2010 | 11:23 AM CET

The European Parliament has unveiled a series of proposals designed to eliminate barriers currently hampering the cross-border e-trading across Europe.

In a bid to create a unified e-commerce market for the entire European Union community, members of the European Parliament (MEP) have created a ”trust mark” for websites that guarantee the reliability and quality of goods sold via the internet across borders.. The European “trust mark” will be implemented in cooperation with existing trust mark labels in Member States and backed up by standards enforcement mechanisms at national level.

Under the current system, the rules and regulations of online trading differ from an European state to another. Online shopping is hindered by the rejection of orders coming from foreign consumers as well as by the lack of software interoperability across borders. According to spokespersons of the European Parliament, currently, only 7 percent of Europeans are familiar with the process of buying goods or services online from another EU country. Furthermore, only one in three consumers would consider doing online shopping from another EU country.

“E-commerce is a tool with great potential to reshape and improve the competitiveness of the EU economy and the European internal market, and can provide great value and opportunities to European citizens and businesses at this time of financial strain", Parliament's rapporteur Pablo Arias Echeverria commented. He also added, "It is vital that European Union leaders implement the necessary measures to overcome remaining barriers in e-commerce, and create trust and transparency so that both citizens and businesses can fully exploit its benefits".

According to the statement, the plan would be taken into effect by 2012. If the measures prove successful, online trading in Europe could generate as much as EUR 100 million, the same source points out.

In May 2010, the European Commission released a digital agenda set to improve cross-border e-commerce transactions within the EU and decided to implement a series of measures to eliminate the regulatory barriers that hold back European businesses from trading cross-border.

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