March 10, 2009, 12:00 AM
By Katie Evans Senior Editor
While the European Union has torn down many trade barriers among its 27 member states, it has been unable to make much headway in facilitating cross-border e-commerce, according to a report last week by EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva.
The report notes that 33% of Europeans shopped online in 2008, up from 27% in 2006, but that the proportion shopping at web sites outside of their home countries increased only from 6% to 7%. Among the hurdles are language barriers, incompatible postal and payment systems, differences between country’s sales tax laws, and consumers’ fears that it could be hard to resolve problems with purchases from online retailers based in other countries.