Speaking at a European Parliament Expert Panel on the Digital Services Act proposals on 21 June 2021, Amazon’s James Waterworth made the following introductory remarks:

We welcome all measures that benefit the single market, enhance trust in online services, and improve the experience of both customers and businesses in Europe.

We agree with the European Parliament that these measures are of the utmost importance as we consider how the eCommerce Directive should be updated.

I will focus my opening remarks on three areas – consumer trust in services, ensuring small businesses have opportunities to succeed, and our views on the right regulatory approach.

Firstly, European consumers should have confidence in the services they use and in the products they buy, whatever size business they buy from.

As a founding member of the European Commission’s Product Safety Pledge, we work hard to improve the detection of unsafe products.

Our first objective is always to block suspicious, unsafe, or non-compliant products from ever being listed in our stores. Amazon has more than 10,000 employees dedicated to countering fraud and abuse. Our systems indicate zero safety concerns for 99.999% of the products on our store. Only a tiny fraction of that 0.001% of flagged products are found to have a genuine safety issue once investigated.

And customers need to know they are dealing with trustworthy sellers. That is why we explicitly support a Know Your Business Customer obligation in the DSA. Our own very robust verification processes mean that only 6% of attempted seller account registrations passed our vetting processes and listed products.

Secondly, a high level of confidence in online services is also important for sellers. Behind every sale is a seller with a business.

The legislation should ensure businesses in Europe can succeed and continue to export billions of Euros worth of products using marketplaces, whilst also being able to react swiftly to counterfeiters.

Thirdly, we support the DSA maintaining the core principles of the eCommerce Directive while introducing regulated obligations to ensure that services act against illegal content.

These obligations need to be carefully balanced to provide certainty while allowing flexibility to cover the huge variety of business models across tens of thousands of services.

The upcoming General Product Safety Directive – expected very soon - is the best place to review proposals for product safety. We should avoid any legal uncertainty that could be generated by an overlap between the DSA and the General Product Safety Directive.

Regulating goods and the obligations of those in the physical supply chain is different to regulating digital services and digital content. To point out the obvious: the sale of a toothbrush is completely different from the uploading of a video on social media.

In conclusion:

  • The rules need to be specific enough to achieve their stated objectives of high confidence in online services and avoid being inflexible;
  • We should ensure ongoing small business success;
  • Sectoral legislation is the most effective solution to deal with issues such as product safety, rather than through the DSA.