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EU: Fancy following 27 sets of laws at once?
Proposed EU law binds ecommerce under every EU member state
vincevincevince




msg:3227357
 9:05 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

European Union laws on cross-border trade will hurt online sales and may cause legal chaos, UK business leaders have warned.
Some smaller firms, especially those relying on internet sales, may have to end non-UK business, the CBI said.

Under EU proposals, a UK company selling abroad may have to comply with the laws of all 27 member countries rather than just domestic rules.

BBC - EU laws 'will hit online trade' [news.bbc.co.uk]

The gist of it is that, under the proposals, if you sell outside your own member state you will have to learn about and follow the laws of each member state to which you sell.

[edited by: engine at 9:10 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2007]
[edit reason] extended quote [/edit]

 

activeco




msg:3239969
 8:59 pm on Feb 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

The topic for this thread is simply a non-story.

On the contrary, if true, it's quite a big one.
I would say, the motives behind a story could be sneaky, but that assumption is actually not a story.

For a start, every country in the world has the 'right' to lay controls on people selling to them; the way it's done varies, but most get involved one way or another.

Right. The international trade is pretty efficiently regulated.

In the EU for example, the Treaty of Rome (which founded the EU in the 1950s-ish), explicitly lays down that 'right' for EU trade; the new act changes nothing at all - just reminds sellers of their legal duties.

That is a very simplistic view. No reminders are part of any legislation.

The way the basic global trading works is the same and not limited to inter-European businesses.
If you want to order something, say pepper from e.g. India or Malaysia, the goods have to satisfy some requirements such as health, technical standards, security, etc.
Unfair prices of foreign goods are compensated with custom and other duties, if any.
Unless the particular country is under some trade or political embargo, a company or a person is free to engage into business relationship with a company from another country. The foreign company providing goods or services is legaly doing business according to it's country's law. In the event of any dispute, the local (seller's) law is usually applied, unless otherwise contractually stated.
This last was agreed on EEC level with CONVENTION ON THE LAW APPLICABLE TO CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS [rome-convention.org].
Simple and normal? Yes.
With online businesses the things are the same. The only possible vagueness could be location of conducting a business or offering services. Is it a location of a provider or an user? Up to now, common sense is applied here too; Directive on electronic commerce [eur-lex.europa.eu] from June 2000, clearly states: "...the place of establishment of a company providing services via an Internet website is not the place at which the technology supporting its website is located or the place at which its website is accessible but the place where it pursues its economic activity..." (through a fixed establishment).

Now, according to cbi.org.uk, as BBC reported, it is proposed that "a court could over-ride the companies' choice and rule that a different legal system applies".

"A London firm, for example, which now sells its products to a customer in Rome under English law would find itself liable under Italian law for any complaint. Any court case would be held in an Italian court, under Italian law with the proceedings in Italian. The same situation would apply to every EU country the firm accepted an order from."

If something like this becomes the law, the consequences would be indeed catastrophic and contrary to the European general principles. Such a precedent could lead to the totaly different definition of a company's place of pursuing its economic activities, inter-mixing of jurisdictions and de facto martial law of the stronger, which for some time have been already pushed by USA. In the case of Netteler founders [webmasterworld.com], the businessmen were charged and arrested, although they legally operated outside USA.

Now, it is not about type of business in question, it is about it's legality and jurisdiction.
We all may have personal ethical or other views, which may influence our basic differentiation between right & wrong. As a vegetarian, I would personally forbid any trade of our modern slaves and their meat (animals). If having a chance, I would probably push for a hard civil penalties for even eating flesh, if we have enough other food choices. But I will also defend your sad right to eat and trade it, if your barbaric community allows it.

Quadrille




msg:3240288
 2:59 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

"In the EU for example, the Treaty of Rome (which founded the EU in the 1950s-ish), explicitly lays down that 'right' for EU trade; the new act changes nothing at all - just reminds sellers of their legal duties."

You may argue with the term 'remind'; by all means substitute your preferred term. The point is, to keep it REALLY simple:

"the new act changes nothing at all"

"A London firm, for example, which now sells its products to a customer in Rome under English law would find itself liable under Italian law for any complaint. Any court case would be held in an Italian court, under Italian law with the proceedings in Italian. The same situation would apply to every EU country the firm accepted an order from."
This has been the case since the Treaty of Rome, and the principles have already been made to apply in many countries of the world by other treaties.

It's actually perfectly reasonable; why should a foreign seller be exempt from rules protecting customers from local sellers?

And, of course, like every law n the world, if you ain't doin' nuffink wrong, you ain't got nuffink to worry abaht, 'ave yer?

activeco




msg:3240418
 8:21 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

This has been the case since the Treaty of Rome, and the principles have already been made to apply in many countries of the world by other treaties.

No, it's not. The Treaty of Rome says exactly opposite. It's the same principle that allowed international trade flourishing for the last few hundred years.

It's actually perfectly reasonable; why should a foreign seller be exempt from rules protecting customers from local sellers?

Because the buyer endorsed another set of rules.

And, of course, like every law n the world, if you ain't doin' nuffink wrong, you ain't got nuffink to worry abaht, 'ave yer?

That's exactly the problem. We have been witnessing more and more cases where innocent people are being jailed and companies closed.
This proposal, if becomes a law, would just reinforce and legalize this tendency.

Quadrille




msg:3240515
 11:03 am on Feb 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

The Treaty of Rome EXPLICITLY gave consumers protection from other European nation's sellers; all that has changed is there is the desire and the means to do a little bit more about it. The legal position has always been there.

For every instance of "innocent people are being jailed and companies closed" (maybe there's one example?), there are thousands of instances of consumers being ripped off (You didn't know that?).

I sell across borders, and will continue to sell across borders. But I also buy across borders. This is good law.

[edited by: lorax at 6:56 pm (utc) on Feb. 2, 2007]
[edit reason] cleaned up text [/edit]

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