DG Competition Reveals First Results of E-Commerce Sector Inquiry; Online Marketplace Bans Remain a Problem

BY Heather Greenfield
September 15, 2016

Brussels, BELGIUM — Today DG Competition published its preliminary report on the E-commerce Sector Inquiry. The sector inquiry was launched in May 2015 as part of the Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy. Its aim is to identify competition concerns in European e-commerce markets and private barriers to the completion of a digital single market.

The report confirms that manufacturers impose contractual sales restrictions in their distribution agreements with resellers. These restrictions range from price recommendations to prohibitions on cross-border sales. CCIA is particularly concerned with online marketplace bans which prevent authorized resellers from using online marketplaces as a sales channel. The Commission’s report reveals that this is the second most widespread restriction which manufacturers include in their distribution agreements.

The Commission said that these restrictions may violate competition rules and that it may open specific antitrust investigations.

The following can be attributed to Jakob Kucharczyk, Director, CCIA Europe:

“DG COMP’s preliminary report confirms the importance of e-commerce for greater price transparency and consumer choice. It also confirms online marketplaces’ important role for authorized retailers, particularly for small and medium-sized sellers. Restrictions preventing sellers from using marketplaces as a sales channel, harms competition, consumer choice and European small and mid-sized businesses. The Digital Single Market is bound to remain theory if it cannot become a reality for millions of European businesses because of unjustified online sales restrictions.”

“In light of encouraging enforcement actions from national competition authorities we look forward to further engaging with the Commission over this issue.”

 

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