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Simplified law may boost online sales in the EU

Simplified law may boost online sales in the EU

New EU law will make cross-border sales cheaper and easier

Online businesses should gain easier access to the European Union's 507 million consumers thanks to a new law passed by the European Parliament on Wednesday.

The so-called European Sales Law was approved by 416 votes to 159 (with 65 abstentions). The law allows businesses selling or offering services across internal E.U. borders to opt for a single type of sales agreement no matter where they do business.

Currently companies must comply with 28 different national sales contracts, costing an average €10,000 (US$13,741) in translation and legal fees for each additional export market. Smaller companies are expected to benefit most from the new rules.

According to European Commission figures, €26 billion in intra-E.U. trade is lost every year that traders are dissuaded from cross-border transactions due to contract law obstacles.

By ensuring a high level of consumer protection, the law will also give consumers the confidence they need to boost cross-border online shopping, according to the Commission, which proposed the idea.

The new regulation will now have to be approved by member states before it can be written into law.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

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