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Module M – Selling products online to the EU market

What specific issues need to be considered?

A key element in relation to protecting consumers from unsafe consumer goods is the growth of e-commerce. Online marketplaces have many benefits for consumers but carry additional risks. The basic rule is that whatever protection consumers enjoy does not change whether products are purchased in a physical shop or online.


This module intends to help to understand the existing and upcoming EU’s requirements impacting online sales and the specific implications on product safety.

Learning outcomes

The E-commerce Directive provides the general legal framework for online platforms. In December 2020 the Commission published a proposal for a Digital Services Act, that aims to strengthen the accountability and responsibilities of online intermediaries. In addition, the Commission is currently preparing a revision of the General Product Safety Directive, which will tackle product safety challenges of online sales.
Furthermore, a new ‘EU Directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection’ was adopted in November 2019 which contains many new elements in relation to consumer protection addressing a range of issues associated with e-commerce. In addition, from July 2021, new market surveillance rules will have particular implications for anyone selling online into the EU market. Through attending this module, participants will gain an understanding of these Directives and further aspects related to online marketplaces:

  • The range of requirements set out in various EU Directives relating to online trade.
  • How the EU protects consumers shopping online.
  • Corresponding Chinese legal requirements for online trade to overseas countries, including the EU.

Tags, sub-topics, combination with other modules

Relative risk. E-commerce and detailed requirements. Product safety and consumer rights. Market surveillance issues.

  • This module can be used stand-alone or in combination with other modules in a crosscutting way.