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EU4Digital publishes recommendations for eCommerce harmonisation between Eastern partner countries and the EU

The EU4Digital Facility has published its recommendations for the harmonisation of eCommerce between the Eastern partner countries and the EU. The list of recommendations has been drawn up as part of the eCommerce activity under the EU4Digital Facility’s eTrade thematic area. 

The overall objective of the report is to provide recommendations to harmonise eCommerce between the Eastern partner countries and the EU in three areas: ecosystem, legal framework and standards. The recommendations aim to:

  • Eliminate the barriers for cross-border eCommerce; 
  • Boost cross-border eCommerce volume; 
  • Increase awareness and prepare the countries for the EU 2021 eCommerce changes.

The recommendations were developed by the EU4Digital eCommerce experts and local Eastern partner country experts as follows:

  • Developing the EU state of play or the baseline. The baseline is structured around the eCommerce value chain and describes the players, information and activities involved in the supply, distribution, and post-sales activities of goods for the market. More than 100 key aspects in legal, standards and eCommerce ecosystem areas are described across the value chain and the baseline. 
  • Performing the state of play analysis of eCommerce in the Eastern partner countries. The analysis was performed by conducting interviews, workshops and research. More than 50 stakeholders were involved across the Eastern partner countries, including ministries, customs and tax authorities, postal and logistics operators, marketplaces, business associations, local experts. 
  • Providing professional opinion by the EU4Digital Facility experts on the key gaps for cross-border eCommerce. 
  • Organising consultations and alignments with the national stakeholders.
  • Developing recommendations based on the EU practices aimed to boost eCommerce transactions volume and address the necessary supportive measures for eCommerce to work. 

The provided recommendations have resulted in six national actions plans that set the basis for further implementation through: 

  • Authorities of the Eastern partner countries making the necessary changes in legal and standards areas as per the provided specific points; 
  • Governmental and non-governmental stakeholders adopting the recommendations in national economy development plans for practical actions.

One of the proposed recommendations (recommendation #1 of this report) – establishment of a virtual warehouse, was selected to be piloted between the Eastern partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) and the EU (Germany). The pilot solution is to establish national virtual warehouses / databases of local goods to connect eCommerce actors so they can automatically exchange information about sales, customs and delivery. You can read more about the pilot here.

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