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This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >     
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]

 

Quadrille




msg:3227390
 9:39 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not another "EU scare story!"

It's actually a very silly one; after years of 'harmonization', it's actually quite difficult to be legal in your country and illegal in another EU country - though people in new member states may have some challenges.

Also, you have EU 'rights' in other EU countries.

If you think about it, it's much more likely you'll have legal problems with countries OUTSIDE the eu, who may well have anti-eu import issues.

But journalists never let the facts get in the way of a good story ;)

[edited by: Quadrille at 9:40 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2007]

eriky




msg:3227411
 10:13 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thank you for your perspective on this. It's so easy to put "news" into negative daylight.

SlyOldDog




msg:3227414
 10:24 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Actually it's already a f....ing disaster.

If I do business within the EU with a non VAT registered company I need to register for taxes in his country once turnover exceeds some piddly amount. 10000 euro I think it was.

[edited by: SlyOldDog at 10:24 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2007]

SlyOldDog




msg:3227415
 10:28 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>It's actually a very silly one; after years of 'harmonization', it's actually quite difficult to be legal in your country and illegal in another EU country - though people in new member states may have some challenges.

That is just baloney. Sorry. You obviously have not idea of what you are talking about.

I have a business in Poland and Polish law conflicts with EU law in my area. Not only that, but if I follow the EU law I will get a fine from the Polish tax office. I have to follow the Polish law because the EU countries have no right of recourse because Polish law supersedes EU law.

Regindk




msg:3227426
 10:46 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Didn't spend the time reading the original article. To put it short European media is full of crap stories like this, of some reason the media finds it easier to write about "future might be problems". When the reality is that each memberstate only have gotten economic benefits from being part of the EU.

Now to the webmaster part:
"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." -> Anybody heard about harmonization? Well, all member states laws would probably be harmonisized before such a law would be implemented... as too say the difference between each country's law would be minimal. However that poses another problem to online businesses on the short term.

Crush




msg:3227428
 10:57 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

They voted yes on the services directive which in general means that you are resposible for the laws in your country.

[dti.gov.uk...]

Ganceann




msg:3227436
 11:25 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

SlyOldDog,

This may address why you would still face a fine from the tax office:

Does it affect the way I charge VAT to EU countries?

No, taxation is specifically excluded from the Directive.

That is from the link posted about the directive (in a nutshell) - so taxation law would override the directive as taxation has been excluded.

rencke




msg:3227442
 11:49 am on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

To put it short European media is full of crap stories like this, of some reason the media finds it easier to write about "future might be problems". When the reality is that each memberstate only have gotten economic benefits from being part of the EU.

How true! The effect of the service directive is exactly what DTI writes (see link above). It will make inter-EU trade with services a lot easier than before. If any other interpretation is put on the table, such as the one described by BBC, then the European Council simply won't approve it, since each member state has veto power.

We have been selling services (B2C) through Internet to all 27 EU member states for years. The easy way to handle any possible customer dispute is to choose law in the published terms of trade. In our case, the law of our home country. Piece of cake, really.

webdoctor




msg:3227457
 12:21 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

If I do business within the EU with a non VAT registered company I need to register for taxes in his country once turnover exceeds some piddly amount

Surely you only have to register for local taxes if you have a local presence in the 'other' country, not just if you have customers there.

Crush




msg:3227481
 1:01 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

"I have to follow the Polish law because the EU countries have no right of recourse because Polish law supersedes EU law."

As far as taxes go yes. The countries are directed to have their VAT rates between 15-25% or something. On certain things EU law other than taxation EU law rules. Like sizes of cucumbers for example :)

vincevincevince




msg:3227572
 2:36 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

In theory harmonisation means that this will not have any great effect. In practice it is likely to be enormously different. The EU has a long tradition of getting things agreed upon by allowing individual exceptions.

The post by Crush above this states VAT rates of 15-25%. There are three VAT rates applicable just in the UK - 17.5% (the EU 'compliant' one), 5% (a reduced rate, mostly as an industry concession) and 0% - an actual rate of applied and accounted-for taxation - in order to meet the letter of the EU VAT requirements by having an actual tax but without having to actually tax those goods.

Such irregularities exist across the spectrum. With 27 different sets of national laws to accomodate I take issue with those above who suggest this issue isn't worthy of note.

Let us not forget:
Bananas must not be excessively curved (free from abnormal curvature).
The Sun, 4 March 1998, p6. from EU regulation 2257/94

jecasc




msg:3227593
 3:10 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Surely you only have to register for local taxes if you have a local presence in the 'other' country, not just if you have customers there.

No, that's not the case. If your yearly sales to private individuals into another EU Country exceed a certain amount you have to register in the other country and start collecting the VAT of this member state. However this concerns only the VAT and not other taxes.

Just looked it up: The lowest amount I could find was 27.000 EUR for Italy. Highest needed turnover I found was Germany with 100.000 EUR.

oddsod




msg:3227632
 3:45 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not another "EU scare story!"

From the BBC? They are "Europe's" biggest cheerleaders.

Quadrille




msg:3227696
 4:36 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's all hogwash. they are trying to scare people into trading British, because they can't think of a better way.

Wherever you trade in the world, YOU always have to consider the rules of the receiving country. It was that way, always will be that way.

The EU has not changed that EXCEPT where things have 'harmonsed' it's easier.

Trade with France and Germany is easier now than ever.

Trde with newer members (eg Poland) still has problems, but fewer since they joined the EU.

Try trading with non-EU Eastern European nations!

It's a non-story because the BBC picked up a press release and never bothered to ask a single question. Most news media ignore CBI self-promo scare stories. Did you think the CBI really care about small business?

Once you know the source of a story, you can usually work out the agenda. This one is NOT pro-small business, it's just an EU-bash.

gibbergibber




msg:3228248
 12:52 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Bananas must not be excessively curved (free from abnormal curvature)."

Vincevincevince, that's a big load of rubbish. There is no such law, as you can see by going round any supermarket in Europe and observing that every flipping banana is indeed as curved as they've always been.

I find it rather suspicious that the original starter of this thread is also peddling this urban myth that is clearly untrue.

Relying on The Sun for balanced and accurate information about European law is like relying on Microsoft for balanced and accurate information about Linux. They're the newspaper that tried to organise that rather pathetic "Up yours Delors" rally where people were supposed to raise two fingers to the European Union, but no one bothered turning up to it.

jecasc




msg:3228436
 7:54 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Acutally there are some regulations concerning bananas:
[europa.eu.int...]

Moncao




msg:3228446
 8:14 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

SlyOldDog
"because Polish law supersedes EU law"
Where Poland has signed up to aspects of EU law it does not; it is for Poland to comply. Where Poland has not agreed to certain aspects, it can hardly be superseded as it was never in place in the first place n'est pas?
I think your problem is with Polish officials who do not yet know what they are doing - WHAT?!
I am in Portugal. When I want plants or seeds from any other EU country, I order them, no problem.
If I order from outside the EU I have to get the seeds and or plants certified in several respects (contaminant free, generation license, etc.), which is a real and expensive pain in the backside, like it used to be doing business anywhere in Europe before the EU.
So if I need seeds from the USA, I get them sent to England because that puts legal responsibility on the UK authorities who do not like doing anything to upset Uncle George, so they tend to let matters fly if it come from the states.
Then I get them sent here as they are then exempt regulations under EU law.
Same with luxury goods I want from the USA - I send them to England and sometimes have to pay a little duty and then have them shipped here to Portugal, quite legally as tax obligations have been fulfilled in the EU; if I had them sent to Portugal directly, I would pay 40% luxury tax plus duties.
My point is that of course there are national laws within the EU that make things difficult if you want to stand on a soap box.
But those differences also make opportunities if you prefer just to get on with life.
The EU allows massive cross border trade with fewer obstacles and protects your civil and human rights more than you have ever enjoyed before in your country's history.
The only people who do not like the EU in entirety are those outside it, those who fear it, those companies whose foreign trade policies would be curtailed or banned if subject to it and those governments whose foreign policies would be unlawful under it.
God bless the EU
God bless EU law

jecasc




msg:3228511
 10:09 am on Jan 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's true the EU is an easy target since the matter is a little complex like the Banana example shows. Media reports that certain measurements are required for Bananas and you get the impression that all fruits not meeting the required specifications get thrown away or are forbidden. However if you take a closer look it's simple and normal classification to facilitate trade and it's only about which products qualify for class I, II or III products.

After all if a trader in Norway orders Bananas in Portugal he needs to know what he gets for his money. The little shrinkled green class III fruits or the large yellow class I.

Sometimes things are a little tricky but without the EU I would loose 1/3 of my sales.

On the positive side - if customers will be able to sue a company at their location this could give another boost to cross border sales since it would remove an obstacle for many people to buy online from a shop in another EU country.

Moncao




msg:3229859
 8:26 am on Jan 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

jecasc
I think the banana example also needs to take into account another factor. EU / US trade wars, remember ;-)

activeco




msg:3231795
 6:21 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

When I want plants or seeds from any other EU country, I order them, no problem.

Good old times.
If you are in Netherlands and want to bet online, the foreign online casino/bookmaker must have Dutch gambling licence, as ruled by Dutch Supreme Court (try "de Lotto vs Ladbrokes"). Of course foreign casino can't get the licence because Dutch betting operator De Lotto has monopoly on it.
Ladbrokes has been ordered to implement geolocation systems and other measures to insure that its Web site cannot be accessed by Dutch residents.

Welcome to EU.

Moncao




msg:3233793
 8:37 am on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

As someone opposed to online gambling, OK, gambling generally on moral grounds (one of the two affiliate industries I would never get into), I think the online casinos which have found safe haven in the UK are a social virus. Believing King Tony allows online gambling because he can not be seen to be tackling gambling while taking bids for super-casinos for London or wherever (needed for investment for "regeneration" to create jobs, in the short term) plus online casinos are a very useful source of overseas revenue during a very sticky patch makes me think anyone who bans online gambling has got it right for the sake of their people, not their selfish short term politics. I do not see why Holland's ban makes you level criticism against the EU though. The EU allows national laws; it is not a single super state like the USA (sorry, thank goodness). Also just because Holland bans online gambling I do not see this cause for criticism against their state lotto; that is a different "argument". Putting the whole thing together as case against the EU while not being uncommon with the anti-EU nationalists who think the 10% meat content of questionnable origin English sausages and ice cream with no dairy product whatsoever in it should not be renamed is simply desparation that feeds the only people to benefit from looser trade and monatory regulations (the people and corporations who get up to what they shouldn't and make money from foreign exchange), is hardly appropriate. Having witnessed bankrupt gamblers lose their families and even lives, I say preventing this happening in their living room rather than requiring them to go out for their dangerous fix is only a good thing.

[edited by: Moncao at 8:38 am (utc) on Jan. 27, 2007]

activeco




msg:3234394
 11:05 pm on Jan 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I see you were cought into the senseless trap, provided by Dutch court reasoning.
- They didn't ban gambling. The court simply protected the monopolists.
- The very same Dutch people still gamble in the very same way. Btw, gambling advertising in the Netherlands is disgusting (smiling couples, dreams coming true, etc, etc), while offering less winning chances then it is internationaly accustomed. Ever heard of roulette with FOUR zeroes? You can find it only in Dutch "Fair Play" centers, fully licensed (nice name, isn't it).

-What important here is that they follow idiocy of the superpower: The business of the host country has to take care that foreign nationals are excluded from using their services, because the legal business has no licence for the foreign country! Are you seriously going into even considering understanding for such reasoning?
Las Vegas casino's don't ask for Dutch approvement to allow gambling to Dutch citizens.
Foreign nationals still can legally use marijuana in NL, without approval of foreign governments.
US citizens aged 17 could legaly consume alcohol in Greece.
And so on.
Anything wrong with that?

Moncao




msg:3234667
 9:06 am on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

activeco

If a country has a law there is due process for trying to change it in that country. If Holland has a problem and you disagree, go do something about it in Holland. If Holland is a member of the EU and has signed up to certain areas of law, for example free trade which covers gambling, you have another option at a higher level.

Suggest you read up on International law and conventions before you go spouting off. Didn't the US just block online casinos and arrest the managing director of one British online casino when he visited Texas under some archaic Texas law? Don't you think it appropriate that states have control over what their citizens do on the Internet in that country? You try and use an example of a Dutchman going to a casino in Las Vegas, but he is not going to Las Vegas, he is going to his his PC in his living room in Holland. What about child pornography? Should we all be allowed to buy it online because you can get it from street vendors in Thailand? How about some guns from the good old USA or maybe make a subscription to al-Qaeda from a site in Saudi? You making out Holland has done something wrong and the EU is to blame is the joke.

[edited by: jatar_k at 1:54 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2007]

[edited by: lorax at 6:11 pm (utc) on Feb. 2, 2007]
[edit reason] removed insult [/edit]

activeco




msg:3234709
 11:00 am on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

What about child pornography? Should we all be allowed to buy it online because you can get it from street vendors in Thailand? How about some guns from the good old USA or maybe make a subscription to al-Qaeda from a site in Saudi?

Don't you think it is a business between you and your resident country? What YOU are allowed is your responsibility and not the gun seller legally selling guns in another country.
I am simply amazed I have to draw this to same people.
It is about very dangerous precendence of enforcing one country's laws outside their jurisdiction.
As mentioned in the original thread here there is a possibility that a business in one country will need consent of another one to do any business with another country citizens!

Didn't the US just block online casinos and arrest the managing director of one British online casino when he visited Texas under some archaic Texas law?

Right. And another two for "allowing companies to transfer money from U.S. customers to bank accounts overseas!" [webmasterworld.com]

However this is a slightly different issue. While (nonsense of) the charges against those men are related to this thread, the US jurisdiction to act on their soil is not disputable.

Don't you think it appropriate that states have control over what their citizens do on the Internet in that country?

Again, this is between you and your country, not between your country and a legal business abroad.

... but he is not going to Las Vegas, he is going to his his PC in his living room in Holland.

AHA! That's the key point.
This is the only valid question, not yet answered in international courts, afaik.
But the common sense says again that approprite parties are again YOU and your resident country.
Now we could speak about location of the servers, even nameservers and so on. But, provided that everything is located in a foreign location, we are coming back to the non-jurisdicton of one country's laws over another country's legal businesses operating abroad.
Otherwise, any similar snail-mail communication could be forbidden to foreign parties, to make the idiocy complete.

[edited by: jatar_k at 1:18 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2007]

Lobo




msg:3234734
 12:44 pm on Jan 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I hate all this #*$!.. just be to be general..

The lies and dramas and scare stories thrown up by the British press and people in government is so typically sycophantic, usual thrown up as a smoke screen to cover some other hidden agenda.

In basic terms the business of the EU is to open borders, make trade easier and to have a fair playing field.. like ever massive under taking there are some anomalies which become all too easy to highlight to create a story...

As business people, get to know the truth of EU business rather than pandering to anti-EU nationalistic fervour based mostly on bigotry and ignorance..

bluelook




msg:3236661
 1:43 am on Jan 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it's already funny that we that live in Europe have to pay 21% or 25% more than a non-EU citizen, at Adwords for example, to compete at the same market. This EU law undermines their citizens possibilities in a global competition market. Thank you.

Moncao




msg:3238023
 7:50 am on Jan 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

activeco
One minute you criticize national jurisdiction ("I see you were cought into the senseless trap, provided by Dutch court reasoning.") and then advocate it the next (“Again, this is between you and your country, not between your country and a legal business abroad.”). So I therefore think it pointless debating anything with you, especially as I can not understand much of your most recent text.

Lobo

Exactly

bluelook
And what about the other way around? Are you selling into their markets at a preferential rate? How about the EU affiliates here who sell stuff in the US and pay no taxes on that? If you do not like selling from within the EU, move your op offshore or leave Europe yourself maybe. If you want to find an opportunity (like with my earlier examples) you will. If you just want to moan and complain, that speaks more of your inability to find opportunity. I find so many people whinge about the EU in public yet enjoy all the benefits including increased trade and human rights under their breath it sickens me. God bless the EU.

vincevincevince




msg:3238027
 7:58 am on Jan 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it's already funny that we that live in Europe have to pay 21% or 25% more than a non-EU citizen, at Adwords for example, to compete at the same market.

I too have grave reservations about the EU, but if that comment refers to VAT then I think bluelook has misunderstood the nature of the tax. Businesses (i.e. most people who use Adwords) are entitled to claim back their VAT paid in full, so long as they are registered.

Quadrille




msg:3238107
 10:55 am on Jan 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Probably four out of five EU whinges are just plain wrong.

It is quite normal, for the UK government to vote for an EU policy, then when it comes in, to blame Europe for the effects. Plus several UK newspapers repeatedly run fictionalised 'examples' of EU damage - some repeating the same discreditied story on a six-monthly basis (thank you, Daily Mail).

The topic for this thread is simply a non-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.

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.

This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >
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