Geo-Blocking of Goods That Require Cross-Border Delivery: A Preliminary View on EU Policy Considerations

19 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2017

See all articles by J. Scott Marcus

J. Scott Marcus

Bruegel; European University Institute - Florence School of Regulation; The Japanese Institute of Global Communications (J.I. GLOCOM)

Georgios Petropoulos

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Bruegel

Date Written: May 19, 2017

Abstract

The European Commission has made legislative proposals to address “unjustified geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment …” The Commission’s proposal seeks to address long-standing concerns that relatively few consumers in the EU make e-commerce purchases cross-border within the EU, and that relatively few merchants sell cross-border.

The Commission’s legislative proposal avoids imposing restrictions on geo-blocking (i.e. “conditions of access”) on any goods that require cross-border delivery. The exclusion is understandable inasmuch as cross-border delivery of goods imposes burdens on the merchant – it is clear that prices to the end-user cannot be the same as in the case of domestic delivery. At the same time, this “carve out” means that a large fraction of e-commerce is outside the scope of the key provisions of the proposed legislation.

This paper represents a very preliminary attempt to identify the challenges, and possible responses to them. The challenges regarding shipping costs that initially drew our attention to the problem could potentially be addressed in a fairly straightforward way, but there are numerous additional challenging problems that would need to be addressed, and these are more difficult to gauge.

Suggested Citation

Marcus, J. Scott and Petropoulos, Georgios, Geo-Blocking of Goods That Require Cross-Border Delivery: A Preliminary View on EU Policy Considerations (May 19, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3007578 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3007578

J. Scott Marcus (Contact Author)

Bruegel ( email )

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European University Institute - Florence School of Regulation ( email )

Florence
Italy

The Japanese Institute of Global Communications (J.I. GLOCOM) ( email )

Japan

Georgios Petropoulos

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

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United States

Bruegel ( email )

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