EU Bans Cross-Border E-Commerce Barriers

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By Alexis Kramer

Businesses in the European Union won’t be able to restrict consumers’ access to their e-commerce websites across borders under new rules the European Commission announced Nov. 21.

The commission, European Parliament, and European Council, which represents the EU country governments, agreed to rules to end geo-blocking, or the practice of preventing online purchases of goods and services based on an internet user’s geographic location.

The rules will allow consumers in one country to buy, over the internet, products and services from a company in another country without having to pay additional fees or being redirected to a local website. The rules will go into effect nine months after publication in the EU Official Journal.

The move fulfills one of the commission’s 2017 priorities under its Digital Single Market strategy, a regulatory plan designed to remove barriers among EU states. The commission is the EU’s executive arm.

“Today we put an end to unjustified discrimination when shopping online,” Vice President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said in a statement. “With the new rules, Europeans will be able to choose from which website they wish to buy, without being blocked or re-routed.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexis Kramer in Washington at akramer@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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