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“Take dishonest Chinese webshops offline”

“Take dishonest Chinese webshops offline”

Up to 40 % of parcels sent to Belgium by cheap Chinese webshops do not comply with the relevant legislation. The government must tackle this uneven playing field decisively, e-commerce federation Becom argues.

“Matryoshka technique”

Chinese platforms like Temu and Shein often do not respect European rules on consumer protection, product safety and sustainability, Becom director Greet Dekocker says. Such dishonest trading practices must come to an end: “Belgian and European online shops that do scrupulously follow these regulations have to compete against providers that do not comply with EU rules and can therefore offer their products cheaper”, she argues.

Moreover, those webshops are subsidised by the Chinese government, which pays for the empty return flights. Packages are bundled in Chinese distribution centres, a “matryoshka technique” that ensures that few shipments can be checked. Of the shipments that do get checked, up to 40 % are found to be non-compliant – either meaning they are examples of counterfeiting, of breaches of health legislation, of lack of necessary inspections…

Impose sanctions

Backed by those figures, the organisation now calls on the Belgian and European authorities to tackle this unfair competition. The presence of Chinese logistics hub Cainiao in Liège (belonging to the Alibaba Group), the Belgian government can play an important role in this.

The e-commerce federation calls for an adaptation of the European rules, more efficient controls, additional information obligations for Chinese manufacturers and platforms and adapted sanctions for webshops that ignore the rules. “If players do not comply with the regulations, they should be punished and – if necessary – be taken offline”, Dekocker concludes.

In May, European consumer organisation BEUC and seventeen national consumer organisations already filed complaints against Chinese marketplace Temu, accusing it of withholding information and using manipulation techniques.

Temu responds

“Temu is a newcomer to Europe, having entered our first markets just over a year ago. During this time, we have listened carefully to feedback from customers, regulatory bodies, and consumer advocacy groups. We have been actively adjusting our services to align with local practices and preferences, and we are fully committed to complying with the laws and regulations of the markets where we operate”, the platform responds.

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