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European Commission to hold ecommerce competition inquiry

The European Commission will hold a competition inquiry into the ecommerce sector in the European Union as part of a broader push towards a digital single market, reports the Bookseller. The inquiry will focus on ‘potential barriers erected by companies to cross-border online trade in goods and services where e-commerce is most widespread’, including digital content. The European Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: ‘European citizens face too many barriers to accessing goods and services online across borders. Some of these barriers are put in place by companies themselves. With this sector inquiry my aim is to determine how widespread these barriers are and what effects they have on competition and consumers. If they are anti-competitive we will not hesitate to take enforcement action under EU antitrust rules.’ A preliminary report will be released in mid-2016 and a final report in early 2017. The move towards a digital single market has been welcomed across the book trade. Publishers Association CEO Richard Mollet said a digital single market was a ‘reality’ for publishing, and that the Commission had presented some ‘sensible’ proposals for extending this, which also took into account copyright concerns. An Amazon spokesperson said the company ‘agreed with the vision of Europe as a single market’ and looked forward to working with the Commission. The Booksellers Association CEO Tim Godfray said he hoped the inquiry ‘will review the market for e-books across the EC and issues around accessibility, interoperability and market dominance in particular’.


Category: International news