Antitrust enquiry to probe e-commerce barriers to trade

Antitrust enquiry to probe e-commerce barriers to trade

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An EC antitrust competition inquiry into the e-commerce sector is now under way, having been announced in March.

The inquiry will focus on “barriers erected by companies to cross-border online trade in goods and services where e-commerce is most widespread”. This seems likely to include travel.

The EC identifies the barriers as including “contractual restrictions in distribution agreements” that prevent retailers selling goods or services to customers in other EU countries.

The commission said it would investigate “restrictive business practices and abuse of dominant market positions.”

Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “European citizens face too many barriers to accessing goods and services online across borders. Some of these are put in place by companies themselves.

“My aim is to determine how widespread these barriers are and what effects they have on competition and consumers.

“We will not hesitate to take enforcement action under EU antitrust rules.”

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