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Telecommunications/E-Commerce Sectors

If a report below does not have a direct link, it means it is somewhat older and we ask that you request it by sending an email to office.brusselsec@trade.gov . Please keep in mind that you may be asked to register on the Commercial Service website to do download reports with links.

MR-125 / The EU's Globally Harmonized System of the Classification & Labeling of Chemicals

Summary
For companies involved in global trade, complying with different labeling requirements can be expensive, tricky, and often inefficient.

To address this problem, the United Nations adopted the “Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals” (GHS) as a non-binding resolution. Recently, the European Commission proposed to implement the United Nation’s GHS system into law.

The Commission aims to time the GHS's entry into force as closely as possible to REACH to allow consistency of transitional arrangements of GHS and REACH. 

Our latest Market Research Report explains the European Union's Globally Harmonised System and provides advice on how companies can comply with the GHS's requirements.

MR-117 / E-commerce with the EU

Summary
This report will address the range of regulatory issues that should be taken into account by US companies wanting to do business with EU customers over the Internet. It consists of a series of paragraphs addressing various aspects of EU law that affects e-commerce. Please note that of necessity, this report is a high-level summary. In all cases, links are provided to Web addresses that provide more complete information. The summary below is intended as an aid only.

E-commerce is one of the most lightly regulated areas of the EU economy. The legal framework is relatively consistent across the EU; as a result, it should be a major motor of transatlantic trade.

MR-116 / European Union: The EU Chemical Safety Regulation- REACH

Summary
This report outlines the new EU chemicals policy known as REACH. Adopted in December 2006, REACH stands for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of chemicals (Regulation 1907/2006 - December 18, 2006). With REACH, some 30,000 chemicals will need a registration for the EU market, and for the most dangerous ones, an authorization must be obtained. Obligations under REACH will apply not only to chemicals companies but to any business which uses chemicals and sells to the EU. Electronics, automotive, cosmetics and textiles are only a few examples of sectors that will be affected by REACH.

REACH will enter into force on June 1, 2007 in the twenty-seven EU member states. The first business-relevant deadlines will apply one year later in June 2008. Until the new procedures on registering and authorizing chemicals become operational in 2008, the current system will remain in place.

This report has been drafted for U.S. exporters to Europe, in particular for small and medium sized enterprises, to inform them about this major new piece of legislation and to help them prepare for REACH. It gives an introduction to the main requirements of the legislation and deadlines for REACH compliance. The report provides links to more comprehensive sources of information.

MR-108 / European Union: The New Battery Directive

Summary
New EU battery rules came into force on 26 September 2006 following the publication of the Directive on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators (Directive 2006/66) in the EU’s Official Journal. This new Directive replaces the original Battery Directive of 1991 (Directive 91/157). The new Battery directive applies to all batteries and accumulators put on the EU market including automotive, industrial and portable batteries. It aims to protect the environment by restricting the sale of batteries and accumulators that contain mercury or cadmium (with some exceptions) and by promoting a high level of collection and recycling.

It places the responsibility on producers to finance the costs associated with the collection, treatment and recycling of used batteries and accumulators. The directive also includes provisions on the labeling of batteries and their removability from equipment. EU Member States must implement the directive into their national law by September 26, 2008. This report summarizes the main requirements of the Battery Directive. It is aimed at U.S. exporters to the EU that produce and use batteries and accumulators and those involved in the collection, treatment and recycling of batteries and accumulators.

MR-104 / European Union: The EU’s Regulatory Approach to VoIP

Summary
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), allowing traditional telephone (“voice”) conversation via an IP network connection, is widely thought to be in the process of revolutionizing telephony markets around the world. The European Union, comprising 25 Member States, is seeking to take a coherent approach to regulation of VoIP services in order to maximize the potential of the EU’s Single Market and the resulting benefits for consumers.

The approach taken so far is fairly light, with an explicit recognition coming from the European Commission (EC) and Member States’ national regulatory authorities (NRAs) that the market should be given time to pick the most successful business models and technological solutions before assessing whether regulation is necessary.

This report sets out the status quo in a number of key areas such as numbering and emergency calls and addresses possible future developments. It is highly recommended to read this report in conjunction with more detailed materials published by the EC and the European NRAs (see bibliographic information below). It is also essential that companies seeking to enter the market in an EU country make a full investigation of the regulatory situation in that country, since EU rules, while setting the framework for national rules, are implemented differently in different countries. There may also be issues relevant to VoIP that are simply not addressed by EU rules, but where the local NRA has a policy in place.

MR-94 / European Union: Data Retention Regulation

Summary
This report explains EU regulation relating to retention of traffic data produced as a result of electronic communications.

MR-79 / How the EU is Regulating Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Summary
EU telecom regulators are grappling with the challenge of how to regulate Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. VoIP straddles the fault line between the traditionally regulated telephony market and the relatively unregulated data services market. This report describes how the EU’s “New Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications” (NRF) applies to VoIP, considers some of the key regulatory issues raised by VoIP, and sets out the current positions of the two groups responsible for encouraging a consistent approach to VoIP regulation across the EU’s twenty-five Member States (EU-25): the European Commission and the European Regulators Group. U.S. companies targeting the EU market for VoIP hardware, software and services should watch these regulatory developments closely, particularly as VoIP represents the first major wave of new IP-based services since the NRF was established. Precedents will be set.

MR-78 / EU Spectrum Decision Boosts Wireless Internet Access Market

Summary
The European Commission Decision on “the harmonized use of radio spectrum in the 5GHz frequency band for the implementation of Wireless Access System including Radio Local Area Networks” sounds like a mouthful, and is. This shouldn’t detract from its importance. It is set to further bolster the region’s fast growing WiFi, which is beginning to outgrow its location in the 2.4GHz band. The Decision guarantees the EU-wide harmonization of the conditions for the availability and efficient use of 5150-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz bands for Wireless Access Systems. Member States have until 31 October 2005 to comply with it.

MR-63 / How EU legislation can impact ICT hardware, software and services markets

Summary
This report focuses on some of the ways in which EU legislative developments can shape ICT hardware, software and services markets across the European region. An understanding of the direction and scope of these developments can help U.S. companies prepare for and take advantage of their market impact. EU developments can throw up threats, opportunities and compliance requirements for U.S. companies, and sometimes a combination of all three. The following is designed to raise awareness of the importance of the "EU angle" to U.S. companies targeting ICT products and services at the EU market.

MR-41 / .eu - The European Union's New Internet Address Top Level Domain

Summary
The new “.eu” Top Level Domain will enable eligible U.S. companies to reinforce their pan-European marketing presence by registering “.eu” Internet addresses. This report covers ten FAQs regarding .eu and how it will work.

MR-40 / The European Union's New Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications

Summary
The European Union (EU) has changed the way it regulates the telecommunications sector to take better account of an increasingly competitive and technologically convergent market. The New Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications (NRF) is a package of EU Directives that aims to bring legal certainty and a harmonized approach across the EU’s 25 Member States. It covers all electronic communications networks and services, but not the content provided through and over them. This report looks at the why the rules have been updated, sets out the different elements of NRF, and describes how the system is designed to work.

MR-37 / How EU VAT Rules Impact U.S. based Suppliers of Online Content, Software and Services

Summary
In July 2003 the European Union (EU) started applying Value Added Tax (VAT) to sales by non EU based companies of electronically supplied services to EU based, non-business customers. U.S. companies that are covered by the rule change must collect and submit VAT to EU tax authorities. This report provides details on what constitutes an electronically supplied service; which U.S. companies are impacted by the rule change; what their compliance obligations are; and how they can fulfill them.

MR-35/ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Insitute

Summary
ETSI is the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, the European Standards Developing Organization for the telecommunications sector. ETSI is active in a number of related areas including radio communications, broadcasting and Information Technology. ETSI is probably most famous for developing the GSM wireless standard, in use throughout Europe and much of the world.

MR-29 / EU Rules Banning Spam

Summary
The European Union recently approved a law, popularized as a “ban on spam,” which in most situations requires companies to get the prior consent of individuals before sending them marketing communications by email. This “opt-in” approach contrasts with the “opt-out” requirement in the recent CAN-SPAM legislation in the United States. The following report sets out what the new EU rules are, and what U.S. companies based both inside the region and out should consider when complying with them.