Daily News 14th December 2020

E-commerce News: Primark Reject E-commerce Claims

Paul Marchant, CEO of Primark, disputes claims that consumers are shifting permanently to online shopping amidst the coronavirus pandemic. He calls the claims ‘wrong and naïve’. He went on to call for more support from the government for brick-and-mortar shops.

J&P Comments

Despite these comments, it is impossible to ignore the findings that show UK consumers continuing to shop heavily online. In January and February of this year, ecommerce sales accounted for about 20 percent of total retail sales, but in May this increased to 32.8 percent. And in October, it was still at 28.1 percent.



 VAT News: UK VAT Recovery Deadline Extended

Ordinarily, overseas non-EU businesses would be required to submit their certificate of status, along with their application for refunds, on or before the 31 December 2020. However, due to the unforeseen struggles that have been placed upon businesses, the HMRC have given these businesses an additional 6 months to produce a valid certificate of status.

J&P Comments

This now means certificates of status must be submitted by the 30th June 2021. Whilst this will come as a relief to many businesses, business owners must note that the deadline for applications of VAT refunds and all other documentary evidence is still the 31st of December 2020.



Business News: Brexit Talks Extended

The Brexit talks had been scheduled to conclude on Sunday, but these talks have now been extended. Whilst there has been no new deadline given, they obviously must conclude before 31st December 2020. As it stands, both sides are supposedly ‘far apart’ in their stances.

J&P comments

It is becoming increasingly unclear as to whether we will see the UK and EU reach an agreement before the deadline. Boris Johnson has recently claimed that WTO terms, such as the trade terms that Australia have with the EU, currently look like the most likely outcome.



Daily News 15th December 2020

E-commerce News: Half Of Retailers Experiencing Supply Constraints

So-called territorial supply constraints are causing wholesalers and retailers severe supply constraints. These constraints could feasibly contribute to the fragmentation of the single market, and are said to mainly affect online vendors.

J&P Comments

Problems with internal structures have been cited as a possible reason for these supply constraints. But the wide range of prices charged across the European Union by manufacturers to retailers can’t be fully explained by factors such as different tax regimes or labor costs. The EU is likely to attempt to solve this problem as soon as possible.



E-commerce News: German E-commerce Could Grow To 141bn euros

After benefitting from the coronavirus, it is being speculated that German e-commerce could grow to become worth up to 141bn euros by 2024. This year saw record breaking online sales in Germany, with yearly sales around 88bn euros.

J&P Comments

The strong growth that has been caused by the pandemic certainly looks likely to continue in Germany. According to calculations from IFH Cologne, the online share of retail should be a 16.5% in 2024, and could even rise to 19.5%.



Business News: China Export Control Law Comes Into Effect

The China Export Control Law has come into effect this month. The law, which is similar to the EU’s Export Control Regime, covers, among others, dual-use items, military items and sensitive technologies.

J&P comments

To be able to export controlled items, exporters are required to apply for relevant licenses from the competent authority in China. In addition, the exporter needs to submit end-user and end-use documents of controlled items to the export control management authority.



Daily News 16th December 2020

Business News: Confidence Growing On A Deal

The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has claimed that there is now a ‘path to an agreement.’ This suggests she is more confident than Boris Johnson, who still seems to think that a no-deal Brexit is the most likely outcome.

J&P Comments

There is a lot of conflicting reports at the moment regarding the probability of a deal being struck, however, since there is an estimated one trillion dollars of annual trade free of tariffs and quotas on the line, it still seems likely that Britain will find a way to protect this trade beyond Dec. 31.



E-commerce News: MikMak Launches In Europe

The highly impressive ecommerce marketing startup MikMak has launched in Europe and Canada. The platform allows users to access their ecommerce enablement and analytics software, and claims to boost online sales for its users drastically.

J&P Comments

It’s been a good year for MikMak, which already saw its revenue grow over 200 percent this year. The company, launched in 2015, started as a mobile video shopping network making infomercials. But in 2017, it pivoted to enterprise software to help brands better measure ecommerce marketing.



Business News: Britain And Mexico Agree Trade Deal

With the Brexit deadline looming, Britain have signed an agreement with Mexico that will see their trading terms remain the same after Brexit, as well as an agreement to begin negotiating on a deeper relationship next year.

J&P comments

Britain have signed a few deals like this recently, first with Canada and Japan, and then most recently with the Scandinavian countries. Clearly Britain is attempting to fortify their trade relationships before the Brexit deadline.



Daily News 17th December 2020

Business News: US & UK Strike Deal

Britain and the US have signed a new deal that is concerned with customs processes. The hope is that the new deal will ensure that trade keeps flowing smoothly between the two countries once the UK leaves the EU on Dec 31st.

J&P Comments

It is clear that this deal is merely a precursor to more trade deals that the UK will create with Biden’s US. However, the US have stated that they have much more pressing concerns in their foreign policy, so it is hard to say how long a real trade deal will take.



VAT News: Hainan Cancels VAT For Companies Buying Ships In China

The Hainan authorities have stepped up a policy to reduce the fiscal burden on business and will no longer levy value added tax (VAT) from foreign trade commercial organizations when completing a transaction to acquire a sea vessel from Chinese companies with its subsequent registration in the special customs zone of Yangpu port, reported the Hainan administration.

J&P Comments

These rules are going to be in place until 2024. This will certainly intrigue logistics companies intending to use a sea vehicle in international trade. Interested businesses can electronically submit an application to the competent authorities in order to issue a VAT exemption permit.


Business News: Barnier Confident On Brexit Deal

Barnier, the lead negotiator for the EU has claimed that ‘good progress’ has been made on Brexit talks. These sentiments echo Ursula von der Leyen’s comments yesterday that there was a ‘path to an agreement’.

J&P comments

It looks like the rollercoaster of Brexit is beginning to reach a satisfying conclusion. Whilst it is still too early for complete certainty, the signs are pointing towards a deal being agreed before the deadline. It is reasonable to expect that we will have a clearer idea before the end of the week.



Daily News 18th December 2020

E-commerce News: Amazon Doubles Reach In The Netherlands

Amazon has doubled its amount of users in the Netherlands from last year. The ecommerce giant reached over 7 million Dutch consumers in November. At the beginning of this year Amazon was only reaching about 3.8 million people in the Netherlands.

J&P Comments

7.3 million people accounts for about 45% of all online users in the Netherlands. A lot ofthis growth has to do with Amazon launching Amazon.nl earlier this year. Whilst its growth is likely to continue, it is still trailing to bol.com, who reportedly reached around 11.6 million in 2020.



Logistics News: Calais Confident Brexit Won’t Cause Issues

According to the port chief of Calais, France’s busiest road freight port, the port is not anticipating any chaos after Brexit, provided businesses follow procedures. As far as he is concerned, the port is ready for the customs formalities that will be put in place.

J&P Comments

Britain formally transitions out of the EU’s customs union and single market at 2300 GMT on Dec 31, after which companies will have to complete customs declarations whether there is a post-Brexit trade deal or not. Businesses shifting goods between Britain and the world’s largest trading bloc have warned of major disruption to just-in-time supply chains.



E-commerce News: Gucci Joins Alibaba’s Luxury Ecommerce Site

Gucci, one of the most recognizable fashion brands in the world, will be opening two flagship stores on Alibaba’s online luxury shopping platform. The move highlights the importance of the Chinese market for brands hoping to reverse a fall in revenue due to the pandemic.

J&P comments

China – where consumers shop far more by mobile phone apps than in the United States or Europe – has been a rare bright spot for luxury goods brands this year, with sales surging there since lockdown measures began to ease in the spring. Chinese customers already represented around 35% of luxury goods purchases before the pandemic and are now expected to account for almost half of global sales of high-end clothes, handbags and jewellery by 2025, according to consultancy Bain.