Tax justice, product safety and market monitoring are all key concerns 

Digital Business Ireland has today called for stronger digital market surveillance of online advertising of goods and products, as Ireland enters a traditionally busy shopping period.  

In light of the growing online trade and purchases by consumers from non-EU countries, Digital Business Ireland (DBI) has appealed for stronger control of digital ads and effective market-monitoring by the authorities, in order to protect businesses in Ireland. The Association warns that while tax justice is of paramount importance, product safety is also crucial and there is an urgent need for action in online trade from third countries.

€33.97 million worth of goods were imported by Irish consumers between May – August of this year and with many goods and products being sold from non-EU countries, the relevant tax rates are generally not applied and as a result, they are advertised at a lower cost – ultimately putting these businesses at a competitive advantage while consequently jeopardising business in Ireland that are wholly compliant.  

Lorraine Higgins, Secretary General of Digital Business Ireland, said “With the advent of the  pandemic, online trading has gained significant momentum. However, there is a lack of digital systems that allow for a comprehensive verification of all imports. Despite best efforts, hundreds of thousands of packages remain uncontrolled which means the applicable taxes are not paid. Furthermore, some products are not of merchantable quality, or contain harmful ingredients, incorrect labelling and are guilty of brand piracy, and this must be counteracted with effective market surveillance.”

In online trading, we do not have a regulatory problem, but an enforcement problem. It’s time to implement digital tools and recruit more staff to effectively control non-EU e-commerce. Without the necessary checks and balances this has ramifications for businesses, jobs and the safety of consumers.” Higgins concluded.

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