Electronic commerce (e-commerce) refers to production, distribution, marketing, sale or delivery of goods and services by electronic means. Cutting across products and services, e-commerce has become a great potential for boosting trade and economic development.
Being present online and using internet to produce, market and deliver products around globe is untapped potential for business of all sizes. This is why it is important for companies undergoing digital transformation to have a good base, a market they can use as a springboard for their European or global ambition. Individual markets in CEFTA are small and developing, often not providing sufficient room for growth. On the other side, integrated e-commerce market can make a difference. Together, CEFTA accounts for 20 million consumers, generating some 1 billion euro market.
Importance of e-commerce has been recognised in CEFTA Agreement which calls for closer cooperation in this field (article 28). Additional Protocol 6 brings upon the agreement on high standards of data protection, non- application of customs duties on digital products and most importantly calls upon regulatory dialogue on electronic commerce to address key issues such as recognition of electronic signatures, platform liability, email spam, consumer protection, etc (article 18).
In 2020, the Joint Committee endorsed E-commerce Roadmap which sets out key priorities in area of digital trade. This includes harmonisation of core rules and introduction of common market principle, as well as facilitation of customs clearance of parcels and removal of unjustified geo-blocking. This agenda has been confirmed by the leaders of the Western Balkans in Common Regional Action Plan 2021-2024.