On 14 July, TACD member the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) intervened in a virtual meeting of the European Parliament about the World Trade Organisation e-commerce negotiations.
These negotiations started in 2019. They aim at finding an international trade agreement between more than 80 countries on e-commerce and digital trade.
BEUC explained to members of the European Parliament that consumers heavily relied on e-commerce during the lockdown. For example, there has been a surge of online purchases in the EU. With it came an increase in prices, scams, unsafe products, fake reviews and even fake medicines. Although the COVID-19 crisis shed light on this problem, consumer organisations had already raised the alarm before. Test results released in February highlighted that two-thirds out of a sample of 250 products sold online were not safe. BEUC explained that an international agreement on e-commerce could help keep consumers safe and enhance their trust in online shopping (read their recommendations).
However, the European consumer umbrella group underlined that these negotiations could also put consumers’ digital rights at risk. It highlighted the views of our transatlantic network, warning Members of Parliament against some countries’ proposals on data flows and calling on the EU to stick to its guns to defend data protection and privacy. BEUC mentioned the joint statement signed by TACD on this matter. Members of Parliament were very interested to learn about such transatlantic support. Similarly, the organisation warned against trade rules preventing countries to regulate on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.
- Our resolution on digital trade (January 2019)