Examination of e-commerce sector
The EU Commission has decided to launch an antitrust competition inquiry into the e-commerce sector in Europe. The aim is to find out whether the competition in this market is hindered and, if so, where the problems are coming from.
The inquiry covers the most common products and services, which are electronic devices, clothing, shoes and digital content. The Commission will not only analyse if there are any obstacles resulting from regulations, but also if companies and traders themselves have a negative impact on the competition. According to a press release of the EU Commission, "there are also indications that businesses may themselves establish barriers to cross-border online trade, with a view to fragmenting the EU's Single Market along national borders and preventing competition."
The EU Commission is going to contact manufacturers, wholesalers, e-commerce retailers and other stakeholders in the following weeks and request them to supply information, in accordance with the EU antitrust legislation. The sector inquiry will show what kind of obstacles exist, how often they occur (prevalence) and what the consequences for the e-commerce market in Europe are. The Commission can then decide to also perform single case investigations.
The inquiry is one part of the strategy for a digital single market in Europe which includes an agenda with 16 initiatives. Please find a detailed list in this press release of the EU Commission.