The European Union has taken a step in the right direction by making it easier for customers to purchase goods online.
The European Commission has published new rules allowing online retailers to offer products at half the cost of offline retail, or $8 to $9, a move which has seen prices of most goods jump.
“With today’s decision, consumers will be able to shop more easily and safely online,” EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht said in a statement.
“This means more choice, more competition, and lower prices.”
The move will bring a number of benefits for businesses, including more choice for consumers, as well as a reduction in the cost to sell products online.
“The move makes it possible to offer more choices to consumers, while allowing retailers to compete for consumers’ business, without having to spend money on infrastructure and staff,” the Commission said.
The move is part of the European Union’s plan to reform the economy, reduce the size of the budget deficit, and boost competitiveness.
It has also been supported by the United States.
In the EU, the average selling price for a piece of consumer goods is €15.50 (US$19.75) per item, according to the Commission.
“E-commerce has the potential to drive up the price of goods and drive up prices of other goods, such as housing and health care,” De Guchts statement said.
However, the EU’s rules will not apply to goods imported into the EU.
For example, a product imported into Spain could be sold at a price of €11.60, but only in the EU would it be considered a ‘federal product’.
The Commission said the rules were intended to provide “more clarity” and “to allow consumers to make more informed decisions”.
The new rules also apply to products sold on other EU markets, such in the US, Japan and Canada.
The Commission is currently debating whether to introduce similar rules in future.