Fair competition in foreign trade

AVE campaigns for fair competition conditions in foreign trade in the interest of importers in the retail sector. Due to the ongoing development of international distribution channels and above all because of the great economic growth in online trade, retail importers in Germany and Europe today have to come to grips with very successful competitors from non-European countries.

A very considerable price war has emerged specifically for sales via Internet platforms. In this regard, some merchants from third countries benefit from unjustified competition advantages on the European market by failing to comply with the applicable legal provisions. A blatant example of this is the systematic circumvention of customs duties and failure by many merchants from third countries to declare VAT, thus obtaining a considerable price advantage. Deficient compliance with European product safety rules, standards and labelling requirements or other aspects of European consumer protection law also gives some merchants from third countries large cost savings when they sell to European consumers. At the same time, these legal violations comprise a clear potential risk for European consumers.

Lastly, counterfeit branded goods are often distributed to European consumers from non-European sources. This causes extensive financial damage both for customers – who are usually unaware of the situation – and for the owners of the brands in question. Furthermore, there is often also a health risk for purchasers if product safety standards are not met.

AVE works vis-à-vis political players to ensure that European law is complied with when sales are made to consumers in the EU through appropriate legislative instruments and activity by supervisory authorities. The same competition conditions must apply for merchants from non-European countries selling into the EU as apply for European merchants.

Murat Özdemir


Head of International Trade and Customs
Telephone: +49(0) 30590099-616