Warsaw, 13th October 2020
Necessary tightening measures in the customs and VAT system for foreign e-commerce vendors
The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, in its latest report, analysed the customs and tax system in terms of shipments from non-EU e-commerce vendors. The Union notes in its study that the e-commerce sector is gaining importance in the global, and thus also Polish economy. This phenomenon is influenced, among others, by the coronavirus epidemic. According to the Union, this market in Poland will grow in 2020 by 20%.
E-channels allowed domestic producers to survive during the epidemic crisis by filling the gaps in in traditional sales channels. By 2025, e-sales will account for 20% of the market. In other words, who will not sell online in 5 years will lose every fourth customer – claims the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers.
“Poland is a large and attractive market for e-commerce platforms and vendors. Poles en masse fell in love with online shopping. However, the playing field for retailers and consumers is uneven. There are no equal rules of competition between Polish and Chinese e-commerce. Chinese companies have a number of domestic public support instruments at their disposal and make use of the gaps in the Polish system of public levies in a highly non-competitive manner,” says Marcin Nowacki, Vice-President of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers.
“Naturally, we all want to pay as little as possible for goods. It is in all our interests to ensure the greatest possible variety of products, fair competition, and diversity of entities operating in the e-commerce industry. At the same time, the rules of operation in this sector must be equal and transparent,” adds Piotr Palutkiewicz, the Union’s Deputy Director of the Law and Legislation Department.
The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers has presented a number of recommendations aimed at ensuring fair and high competition in the e-commerce industry. The solutions include, among others the need to introduce an IT system for the payment of customs duties under e-administration and its integration with e-commerce platform systems.
“Simultaneously, thanks to the introduction of a modern and customer-friendly system for paying customs duties, it will be easier to control, as well as pay taxes and custom duties for items shipped from non-EU markets. As a result, the State Treasury may gain over PLN 2 billion annually,” adds Marcin Nowacki.
The Union also indicates that EU funds from the National Reconstruction Plan after the COVID-19 crisis should be used to introduce solutions in the field of e-administration, customs, and tax.
“There is also work to be done by Polish authorities related to the implementation of EU rules into the Polish legal system regarding the principles of concluding contracts over distance and effective enforcement of standards in force in the Community,” adds Piotr Palutkiewicz.
The authors of the report also point to further necessary actions, such as the appointment by non-EU vendors of a representative in the European Union who will be responsible for the proper enforcement of consumer regulations, or the undertaking by Poczta Polska (Polish Post) of actions to help Polish exporters sell products on non-EU markets (especially in China) via the e-commerce channel. This would also allow Poczta Polska to generate additional revenues. The Union also calls for the initiation and active participation of Poland in the reform of the Chinese postal charges system in force under the Universal Postal Union. This action should be carried out both on the level of the European Union and in other international circles.
“As a result of implementing our recommendations, unfair competition on the part of Chinese vendors and e-commerce platforms would become limited. The protection of Polish consumers would be ensured at an equal level, regardless of the location of the purchasing platform. Owing to this, the competition of Polish and foreign vendors and online sales platforms would take place on an equal basis, and Polish entities operating in the e-commerce sector would have equal opportunities to expand on international markets,” concludes Nowacki.
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