Overcoming divergences between national contract laws and boosting cross-border trade and transactions is at the heart of proposals by the European Commission for an optional common European sales law expected to be published tomorrow.
Commenting ahead of the official announcements by the Commission, UK Liberal Democrat MEP Diana Wallis, who was responsible for drafting and steering a report on policy options towards a European contract law through the European Parliament earlier this year, said:
“These proposals for an optional common European sales law are great news for small and medium sized businesses and consumers in the UK- reducing costs for companies and offering more choice for consumers if the want to sell or buy products and services across the EU.
“In a time of economic hardship it is particularly important to offer effective and flexible tools which will help to overcome remaining trade barriers – such as 27 different national contract laws in almost as many languages.
“Currently only 9% of British consumers buy online from another member state and only 9.3% of businesses in the European Union sell their products and services across EU borders because of a lack of legal certainty and high transaction costs for each additional national export market.
“UK law firms could be at the forefront in reaping the rewards of an untapped business market of £23bn in cross-border transactions lost each year throughout the EU because traders are dissuaded by contract law barriers.
If we want Europe’s single market to work as well as the internal market in theUS, we should adopt this voluntary instrument without any further delay.”