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.