Seldia Newsletter October 2013

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Seldia Annual Round Table 2013 

On 2 October 2013 the third edition of Seldia’s Annual Round Table Conference took place in Brussels and enjoyed an excellent turnout with over 150 participants attending. In his opening speech, Seldia Chairman and  CEO of Oriflame Magnus Brännström underlined the fact that direct selling was one of the few sectors in Europe that was continuously growing and that it is important to both recognize and further promote direct selling as being “a major force in Europe”. As a first speaker, WfDSA Executive Director Tamuna Gabilaia presented the objectives of the WfDSA and its new “Ethics Toolkit”, praised cooperation with Seldia and handed Seldia Executive Director Maurits Bruggink a trophy to congratulate for the European association’s 45 year anniversary. In a short presentation, Executive Director of the Brazilian DSA Roberta Kuruzu promoted the WfDSA World Congress which will take place in November 2014 in Brazil. Christian Verschueren, Director General of EuroCommerce, the European association for retail, wholesale and international trade gave a captivating keynote speech at which he highlighted the increasing importance of consumer trust and the need to see the future of retail within the greater context of EU single market dynamics. 

One of the the highlights of the Round Table Conference were the two panel discussions. The first one was the CEO’s panel at which Magnus Brännström (CEO, Oriflame), Jens Abend (CEO, LR Health & Beauty), Ben Woodward (Managing Director Europe, Nikken Europe) and Peter Strydom (Managing Director EMEA, Amway) discussed the future of the industry. All panelists highlighted the importance of social media and the need to have diverse approaches to the heterogenous markets within Europe. Giving various key insights into their companies’ the panelists agreed that the need for diversified approaches as well as investing into the digitalization of their businesses are key approaches for the future. 

The second panel consisted of Joseph Mariano (US DSA President), Michael Meissner (Amway Europe’s Vice-President Corporate Affairs) and Paul Baeyaert (CEO of Weber Shandwick Belgium) whom debated the importance of “positive communication and transforming negative issues into positive ones.” Joe Mariano also articulated the importance of unity within the industry when referring to the Bill Ackman attacks, as he stated that “An attack on one member is an attack on the entire industry.” As someone from outside the industry Paul Baeyaert gave interesting suggestions when he stressed the crucial need of being transparent. 

Seldia would like to thank all those who attended and in doing so contributed in making the event another success. We look forward in seeing you again next year. 

For photos of the conference click here.

Industry News
2013 Seldia Astra Awards Winners

 
The winners of the 2013 Seldia Astra Awards are:

Best Company Award :    Amway
Best DSA Award:               Hellenic Direct Selling Association
Personality of the Year:    Małgorzata Handzlik, MEP
Hall of Fame Award:         Robert and Jonas af Jochnick, founders of Oriflame

With special guests presenting the awards: Joe Mariano (President US DSA), Ambassador Andrea Papastavrou (Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece to the EU) and Ambassador Jan Olsson (Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the EU).

For photos of the Awards Dinner on 1 October click here.
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Polish DSA Annual Conference
On 17 October the Polish DSA (PSSB) celebrated the “2nd Polish Direct Selling Day” under the motto „Building Relationships”. The conference was attended by some 170 people, amongst them policymakers, academics, representatives of the business community, trade organizations and the direct selling industry. The Day was held under the auspices of Poland’s deputy prime minister and minister of economy Janusz Piechociński.

After the opening address of the PSSB Chairwoman Ewa Kudlińska-Pyrz, the gathering was addressed by the deputy minister of economy Jerzy Witold Pietrewicz who emphasized the importance of the branch to the national economy, also in the area of promoting entrepreneurship. His address was followed by a videotaped message from the Polish Member of the European Parliament Małgorzata Handzlik.

The key presentation was made by Professor Janusz Czapiński, a renowned social psychologist from Warsaw University, who is best recognized for his national study entitled „Social Diagnosis”, conducted on some 13 thousand Polish households ever since the early 1990s. The speaker focused on the significance of the so called soft capital – social confidence, team and cooperation spirit, close and lasting human relations – for economic development, and argued that the absence of this kind of capital, or ignoring its true role by decision makers, may put the country’s future development in jeopardy.

Following this captivating presentation was an expert panel that focused on explaining the challenges of micro-enterprises. The conference also included the ceremony of presenting prizes to the winners of the latest edition of the Association’s annual competition for students.T he event was also the occasion to promote the latest PSSB initiative to collect 100 thousand signatures for a petition to the Polish parliament to officially recognize 17 October as the National Direct Selling Day.

 
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Official launch of the Moroccan DSA  
On 22 October 2013 the Moroccan DSA  has been officially launched in Casablanca through an official press conference. In March this year the Managers of Forever Living Products , Avon and Oriflame had gathered in Rabat to sign the articles of the newly established Moroccan Direct Selling Association (Association Marocaine de Vente Directe). 

Beauty and personal care products currently account for the majority of direct selling sales in Morocco and the category is expected to further increase in the different regions of Morocco. Morocco proves to be an excellent market for Seldia member companies, many of whom are currently expanding their businesses there as well as launching new product lines. According to EuroMonitor, it is expected that “Morocco’s leading direct selling companies will rely on their capacity to reach a more significant base of consumers than store-based retailing channels as well as their more flexible payment systems.”

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MEP Handzlik EP Question on direct selling bans  
Member of the European Parliament Malgorzata Handzlik submitted a European Parliament Question to raise awareness on the issue of national bans on direct selling. EU Commission Vice President Viviane Reding, in her role as Commissioner for Justice, is expected to provide an answer to Ms. Handzlik’s question before the end of this year. Ms. Handzlik’s question refers specifically to the improper implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive in member states, one of Seldia’s main advocacy issues. According to the UCPD – if correctly implemented – bans such as the one on the direct selling of cosmetics in Austria are illegal by EU law and cannot be upheld.

Parliamentary questions are questions addressed by Members of the European Parliament to other European Union Institutions and bodies. They are a direct form of parliamentary scrutiny of other EU institutions and bodies.

The full question can be found here.

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Seldia 2012-13 Annual Report now available   

The Seldia Annual Report 2012-2013 is now available for download or in hard copy upon request.

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EU AT A GLANCE

European Parliament Draft Report on UCPD 

At the end of September, MEP Robert Rochefort (French, liberal) published the European Parliament draft report on the implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices directive. Seldia welcomes this report which calls for Member States to fully comply with the UCPD, urging the European Commission to start legal proceedings against those Member States that have not fully or incorrectly transposed the UCPD into national law. The report also welcomes the European Commission’s intention to update the UCPD Guidelines in the coming months. Seldia also welcomes reference made to the importance for member states to implement the directive on alternative dispute resolution. 

However, Seldia and other actors of the retail sector oppose Rochefort’s call on the European Commission to propose a law on collective redress.

The draft report can be viewed here.

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Data Protection: EU Parliament moves ahead

On 21 October, the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee voted in favor of German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht’s report on the Data Protection reform proposal. Responding to mass surveillance cases, MEPs inserted stronger safeguards for data transfers to non-EU countries. They also inserted an explicit consent requirement, a right to erasure, and bigger fines for firms that break the rules. The vote is also the closure of this lengthy process and is important as it proves to industry and other institutions that the European Parliament can reach a common agreement. After having received over 3000 amendments to the initial report, MEPs were able to work out a series of compromise amendments.

The current data protection directive dates from 1995, before the Internet came into widespread use, and does not cover data processed for law enforcement purposes. The new rules update existing data protection law principles to take account of the challenges posed by new information technologies used in the twenty first century. The voted report means that the Parliament now has a clear mandate to start negotiations with the different EU governments represented in the Council. While it is a step forward for the Parliament, it is speculated that negotiations within the Council will not conclude before the end of the EU Parliament’s term next year as certain member states, amongst them the UK, are blocking negotiations. 

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Consultation on Consumer Protection Regulation
On 14 October the European Commission has opened a public stakeholder consultation on the review of the Consumer Protection Regulation. With the CPC regulation, the EU developed a solid set of rules on the consumers’ economic interests to provide a level playing field to companies and consumers. The Consumer Protection Cooperation network was set up to allow national enforcement authorities to work closely together to ensure compliance with these rules and tackle cross-border infringement cases. The rules and conditions for the cooperation between the national authorities and the Commission in this network were adopted five years ago and are set out in the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Regulation (2006/2004/EC). 

The CPC Regulation provides mechanisms for mutual assistance requests to address concrete breaches of EU legislation involving at least two EU countries. Within this scheme, a national authority can use its administrative powers to deal with infringements perpetrated by a company located in its territory but harming the collective interest of consumers in another EU country. Issues and infringement cases dealt with by the CPC relate to a significant number of EU Directives and Regulations, and may cover matters including: unfair or misleading commercial practices, unfair contract terms, consumers’ rights to information, guarantee rights and specific rights in cases of distance selling or e-commerce. Each year the authorities in the CPC network conduct a coordinated screening of websites (‘sweep’) in a given sector to check their compliance with EU consumer laws and follow-up on possible infringements.

This consultation is open until January 2014 and is addressed at stakeholders and all those with an interest in enforcement of consumer rights across national borders within the Single Market, including businesses and their associations. Seldia is currently preparing an answer on behalf of the Direct Selling industry.

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ECJ ruling on notion of directed activity 

On 17 October 2013 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) adopted a new ruling interpreting the notion of directed activity foreseen in the Brussels I regulation on court jurisdiction. This notion is important to determine the competent jurisdiction in cases where one of the parties is a consumer.

In earlier judgements the Court of Justice had established that the criteria for assessing when the traders’ website addresses an activity to another member state (Alpenhof case) and later it added that for a consumer to be able to sue a foreign trader before the national courts, it is not necessary that the contract at issue was concluded at a distance (Mulheitner case).In today’s case, Mr Emrek, who resides in Saarbrücken (Germany) and who learned through acquaintances (not via the internet) of Mr Sabronovic’s business (in Spicheren France) went there and purchased a second-hand motor vehicle. Subsequently, Mr Emrek made claims against Mr Sabronovic under the warranty before the Amtsgericht (District Court) Saarbrücken. Mr Emrek took the view that, under Regulation No 44/2001, that court had jurisdiction to hear such an action.

This issue was later submitted to the CJEU by the German appeal court. The CJEU replies that Article 15(1)(c) of the Brussels I regulation does not require the existence of a causal link between the means employed to direct the commercial or professional activity to the Member State of the consumer’s domicile, namely an internet site, and the conclusion of the contract with that consumer.

To see the ECJ Press Release of 17 October click here.

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Important Reminder: SEPA payments as of 2014
All Seldia corporate members and direct selling companies active in Europe need to be aware that as of 1 February 2014 within the euro area have to adapt to the SEPA payments system. The European Central Bank has warned that many payment recipiants are not aware and have not yet completed the necessary steps and that late migration risks that payments may not be handled smoothly. The ECB message can be found here

The EU Commission has asked EuroCommerce, Seldia and other retail associations to make sure that all their members-associations take steps to be ready for migration to SEPA payments and that all national associations pass this message to their constituencies.

Merchants need not do this on their own: your banks will help. We therefore ask you to tell your members that they MUST contact their banks to find out what specifically they need to do for their business.

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News from ECC-Net  
As of mid-October, the European Consumer Centre (ECC-Net) lists both the UK and the Irish Direct Selling Associations as official Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms on its website. A Seldia delegation which included the Irish DSA Code administrator visited ECC-Net Ireland in September 2012 to explain how Seldia and its member associations would adapt to the recently adopted EU ADR directive. 

On 15 October ECC-Net also published a report entitled “Can I trust the trust mark?”. The report examines how online trust mark schemes achieve their objective of guaranteeing that their members offer good commercial practices, security and privacy for consumers. The ECC-Net analysed, from a consumer perspective, detailed characteristics of the 54 trust marks schemes currently existing in the EU. ECC-Net recommends that trustmark operators develop pan-European best practices and provide consumers with more information on their schemes.

The ECC-Net report can be seen here.

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IMCO votes in favor of Origin Labeling

The EU Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Affairs Committee has adopted the draft reports on the Consumer Product Safety Regulation of Christel Schaldemose (DK, S&D) and on the Market Surveillance on Products Regulation of Sirpa Pietikäinen (FI, EPP). The roles and obligations of economic operators are now better defined and market surveillance will be better streamlined  in the EU. Both reports will increase trust and cooperation in the supply chain, including a provision for isolated cases. 

Unfortunately the committee also adopted some provisions opposed by us, such as mandatory origin labelling. The next step is a Council meeting on 25 October to decide the starting of trialogue negotiations.

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EP initative report on SOLVIT

The Commission recently published recommendations for SOLVIT, an on-line, cross-border, problem-solving mechanism aiming to help consumers and business navigate the Single Market. Morten Løkkegaard (DK, ALDE) will draft an own-initiative report on this, specifically looking at how SOLVIT is functioning, who uses it (consumers or businesses), and the awareness of SOLVIT. It will also look at if Member States do what they have promised, i.e. to work together to solve (without legal proceedings) problems caused by the misapplication of Internal Market law by public authorities. 
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EU e-signature proposal
The European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee endorsed a draft EU law which will require member states to recognize each other’s electronic identification systems and thus simplify access, signing and certification of documents. The law is intended to stimulate the digital economy while enhancing the trustworthiness and security of cross-border trade. This would be the first EU law to require EU member states to recognise and accept electronic identifications issued in other member states.

The proposal would require member states to mutually recognise each other’s national electronic identification systems, provided that these systems have been reported to the European Commission. Existing national systems would not have to change, but would be classified according to their level of security. The Parliament will start negotiations with the Council, aiming at a first reading agreement. Once the EU Council has adopted its position, both the Council and the Parliament will aim at a first reading agreement which is expected to take place in November.  
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2nd Round of TTIP negotiations re-scheduled
The second round of TTIP negotiations scheduled for 7-11 October in Brussels was set to focus on trade rules and the regulatory component of the TTIP that would feed into a political review in January 2014. However, due to the 16-day US government shutdown when congress failed to agree on a budget, the US Administration has not been able to send to Brussels officials from USTR and US Government agencies to maintain the planned session of talks. The EU and the US counterparts will be looking soon for further occasions for engagement, including negotiation rounds.

The initiative of a transatlantic agreement is based on the recommendations of the EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth that steered the deliberations on the future EU-US relations since late 2011. According to an independent study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, an ambitious and comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership could bring the EU economic gains of €119 billion a year once the agreement is fully implemented.

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EU-Canada Trade Agreement
On 18 October 2013, EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reached a political agreement on the key elements of a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The trade agreement is worth over €25 billion per year, in a deal seen by Brussels as the forerunner to a successful trade accord with the US. It will also be the first free trade agreement between the European Union and a G8 country. It will remove over 99% of tariffs between the two economies and create sizeable new market access opportunities in services and investment. Based on the political agreement, technical negotiations will have to be completed so as to finalise the legal text of the agreement.

In 2012 Canada was the EU’s 12th most important trading partner whereas the EU is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, after the United States. In 2012, the value of bilateral trade in goods between the EU and Canada was €61.8 billion.

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EU Trade negotiations in Southern Meditteranean
The EU has completed so far two rounds of negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Morocco and the next round is expected to take place in late November 2013. This DCFTA will extend significantly beyond the scope of the existing Association Agreement to include trade in services, government procurement, competition, intellectual property rights, investment protection and the gradual integration of the Moroccan economy into the EU single market, for example in areas like industrial standards and technical regulations or sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The main objective of the DCFTA is to bring Moroccan legislation closer to EU legislation in trade-related areas. The current framework for EU-Morocco trade relations is the Association Agreement between the EU and Morocco which entered into force 1st March 2000, and provided for a Free Trade Area.

Morocco is the first Mediterranean country to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU. The Commission has also a mandate to start a similar process with Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
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EVENTS

SME Intergroup Breakfast: EU Retail Action Plan
    6 November 2013, European Parliament, Brussels
Entrepreneurs & Consumers – Steps Towards each other
    13-14 November 2013, Moscow (Russian DSA & CONFOP)
2013 SME Assembly in Lithuania
    25-26 November 2013, Vilnius (EU Commission)
EuroCommerce 20th Anniversary Dinner
    25 November 2013, BrusselsTo top      

 

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Seldia Newsletter September 2013

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Seldia promotes Women Entrepreneurship in the EU Parliament 

On 25 September Seldia organized together with Member of the European Parliament Teresa Jiménez a luncheon event on “the importance of promoting women entrepreneurship in times of crisis”. The event was exceptionally well attended. The topic is one which is increasingly gaining prominence in the EU institutions and in which Seldia has played a trend setting role throughout 2013. EU Commission Vice President Viviane Reding joined Seldia for the second time this year to help promote the topic. The Commissioners presence gave the event that extra momentum and attracted 120 participants, amongst them over 12 Members of the European Parliament from different political groups and countries. The event allowed Seldia to promote the direct selling industry’s particular benefit’s in generating entrepreneurial activity, especially for women whom make up 80% of all direct sellers. 

Spanish conservative MEP and host of the event, Teresa Jiménez welcomed participants and introduced the keynote speaker, Commissioner Viviane Reding. The Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship reminded of key statistics of female entrepreneurship in the EU and underlined the need for improving working conditions for European women entrepreneurs, with special mention of the creation of a special maternity leave.

The second speaker to take the floor was Carmen Plaza, Director of the Institute for Women, representative of the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality. She underlined the fact that women entrepreneurs are desperately needed in the EU economic framework. They are, as a matter of fact, improving the economy for their own gender, as women are more likely to hire other women. At last, Monica Deza, Vice-President of Innovation at the advertising company McCann Worldgroup, spoke of the importance of communications, audiovisual content and media, to promote business initiatives.

Finally, the chairwoman of the Seldia sponsored Women Entrepreneurship Platform, Polish MEP Malgorzata Handzlik took the floor and presented the platform and its objectives. Minodora Cliveti (S&D, Romania), Marina Yannakoudakis (ECR, UK), Maria Carvahlo (EPP, Portugal), Silvia Costa (S&D, Italy) Dubravka Suica (EPP, Croatia) and Marlene Mizzi (S&D, Malta) were amongst several more Members of Parliament that took the floor to describe the challenges of women entrepreneurs in their own countries.

Industry News

Seldia pushes for EC to act on direct selling bans
Seldia pushes the European Commission to act upon its complaint – filed as far back as November 2011 – against the ban of direct selling of cosmetics in Austria. The Commission appears little decisive on this matter, leaving direct selling in the cold.

 

This ban against direct selling of cosmetics clearly violates EU law in several ways. It ignores the European Directive on Unfair Commercial Practices, which includes an exclusive list of banned practices.  This list does not include direct selling (off course not!) and our valuable distribution method can therefore not be forbidden. The ban also violates the European Services Directive, which aims at an internal market for services, including retail.  With direct selling of cosmetics allowed to flourish around the European Union, there is no reason why it should be restricted in one member state. Moreover, cosmetics is a fully harmonized sector in the EU, meaning that approved products should be able to circulate freely in the internal market.

Seldia is currently stepping up its efforts to convince those in charge at the European Commission to show political leadership and fulfill the institutions role as guardian of the EU laws.

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EU Parliament call on Unfair Commercial Practices
The European Parliament is expected to make some positive statements on the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD), which will help Seldia in its fight against restrictions on direct selling in some Member States. The European Parliament will notably call for the European Commission to legally challenge each member state that does not fully transpose the UCPD into national law.

The UCPD is an important law for direct selling because it contains an exclusive list of banned unfair practices, obviously not including direct selling. It is an exclusive list, which means that Member States are not allowed to add their own banned practices to this list.  For this reason, in November 2011 Seldia filed a complaint with the European Commission against Austria, which has a ban on direct selling of cosmetics.

The Parliament will call for compliance to the UCPD in its report on the European Commission’s review of the UCPD, which is expected soon. Seldia has learned that a majority in the Parliament supports the call.

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Polish Parliament initiative for a Direct Selling Day
The Polish Direct Selling Association has been meeting with Polish parlamentarians in an effort to make the 17th of October the Direct Selling Day.

On the 4th of September, within the Committee on Legislation for Civic initiative, Eva Kopacz, President of the Polish Parliament launched the initiative of the Polish DSA for making the 17th of October the national Direct Selling Day. The a initiative will further improve the image of direct selling and will further promote the industry through its social and economic benefits.  

The Polish Direct Selling Association, together with its member companies, is acting to gather the 100 000 signatures needed that will launch the legislative process which will then formalize the Direct Selling Day.

Information about the progress and number of signatures collected will be posted on www.pssb.pl.

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Seldia Annual Round Table about to start!  
With 140 registered participants and exceptional speakers, the third Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling promises to be great event for the industry. The awards ceremony will feature the Awards for Best Company and Best DSA of the year, the Hall of Fame Award and the Personality of the Year Award. Who will be awarded with these prestigious awards this year? Find out at the Seldia Astra Awards dinner! 

For the Annual Round Table Programme click here

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EU AT A GLANCE

Czech documentary on crooks streamed at EP
On 24 September Czech Social-Democrat Member of the European Parliament Olga Sehnalova hosted an evening event in which the Czech documentary film “Šmejdi” (crooks) was streamed and at which a debate on unfair commercial practices against vulnerable consumers took place. The hidden camera footage uncovers the manipulation, humiliation and aggressive pressure that exist behind the closed doors of “product demonstration excursions for seniors” in the Czech Republic. The screening and debate was also attended by the new Croatian EU Commissioner for Consumer Issues Neven Mimica who highlighted the importance of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive in combating such illegal activities. 

Since the documentary was aired in the Czech republic in early 2013, politicians have taken to restrictive measures to counter criminal sales events. Sales events of Direct Selling companies are not affected and Seldia strongly condemns the fraudulent traders and supports all measures taken to stop them.

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EU Parliament rushes Data Protection Law

On 21 October 2013, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) is scheduled to vote on the draft report on the General Data Protection Regulation. Rapporteur Jan Philip Albrecht (Greens/EFA, DE) is leading the negotiations and is currently trying to reach a compromise on the specific articles. The General Data Protection Regulation seeks to harmonise Data Protection rules across the EU, in order to provide one single regulatory framework for business and consumers. This should enhance consumers’ trust in the digital market, ensuring that their data is treated safely and responsible. For businesses, the new Regulation should establish legal certainty and establish common rules across the market.As the Lithuanian EU Council Presidency envisages a total of 17 days of expert meetings to have taken place before the end of its term, tension is rising on this dossier due to the time pressure in completing the full negotiations before of the European elections in May 2014.

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Common European Sales Law

On 17 September 2013, the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) adopted with a large majority the draft report on an optional Common European Sales Law (CESL). Contrary to the EP IMCO Committee opinion, the EP JURI MEPs kept the CESL as an optional instrument rather than turning it into a minimum harmonised directive on guarantees, digital content and related services. The proposal on CESL is intended to facilitate cross-border trade by making a second contract regime available for business and consumers. The proposal is guided through the European Parliament by co-rapporteurs Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE) and Mr Luigi Berlinguer (S&D, IT). The next step in the legislative process will be the trilogue negotiations between the European Parliament, Council of Ministers and the European Commission, however, the final adoption of the legislation in this ‘first reading’ is unlikely, as EU Council is far from being aligned with the Parliament on this dossier. 

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EU Commission conference on behavioral economics
On 30 September, the European Commission’s Directorate-Generale for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) will organise a conference on “Applying behavioral insights to policy-making: Results, Promises and Limitations.” The aim of this conference is to discuss the possible influence of behavioral economics on policy-making.

Please find the programmhere
 
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EP committees want to keep origin labeling
The European Parliament Legal Affairs and International Trade committees have voted on their draft opinions on the Consumer Product Safety Regulation. Both opinions kept their support for a mandatory origin labeling. The retail sector will continue to lobby for the elimination of this provision, because it is regarded as too burdensome. Other aspects of the opinions of the two committees are favorable to commerce and are the result of continuous and collective lobby work various Brussels based trade associations, in particular EuroCommerce.

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EU initiative on Tax evasion and fraud
The European Commission (DG Taxud) has launched a new initiative to raise the awareness of the problem of tax evasion and tax fraud. In the EU, an estimated €193 billion in VAT revenues (1.5% of GDP) was lost due to non-compliance or non-collection in 2011, according to a new study on the VAT Gap in Member States. A video is available in 23 EU languages on the new web page, along with key information on the problem and the actions being taken.

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Barroso promises EU legislative burden reduction
On 19 September 2013, on the occasion of the meeting of the High Level Group on the Reduction of Administrative Burdens, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso stated that the follow-up on the Commission’s Regulatory Fitness Programme (REFIT) will be published early in October. Seldia welcomes this initiative by the European Commission, by which through the so called “REFIT Programme” the Commission aims to assess whether EU legislation is still fit for purpose. Based on the programme, burdensome and inefficient pieces of legislation will be simplified or repealed.

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EU more protectionist than ever

Despite the current historic EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, the EU Commission has identified about 150 new trade restrictions introduced by the EU’s main trading partners over the last year. During this same period only 18 barriers were removed. A sharp increase has been reported in the field of measures applied directly at the border, especially by new import duties. Some countries continue to shield their market from foreign competition to the disadvantage of their consumers and other sectors. Seldia opposes such protectionist measures and supports all moves for progress in multi-, pluri- and bilateral trade negotiations.

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EVENTS

Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling
    2 October 2013, Brussels
5th Annual EU E-Commerce Conference
    15 October 2013, Brussels (EMOTA)
EuroCommerce SME Day
    21 October 2013, Brussels
2013 SME Assembly in Lithuania
    25-26 November 2013, Vilnius (EU Commission)
EuroCommerce 20th Anniversary Dinner
    25 November 2013, BrusselsTo top      

 

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seldia@seldia.eu
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MLM European News: Seldia Newsletter August 2013

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Joe Mariano to join Round Table 

With great pleasure we announce that Joe Mariano, the President of the US DSA, will be joining Seldia at this year’s Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling. Joe Mariano joined the US Direct Selling Association in 1985. Before becoming its President, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for the success in the association’s programs and activities and advocates a progressive association leadership. Mr. Mariano also serves as Vice Chairman on the Direct Selling Education Foundation Board of Directors, and Chairman of the World Federation of Selling Associations (WFDSA) Ethics Committee. Joe Mariano will be joining the second panel of the conference on “How to communicate efficiently and transform negative issues into positive communication” alongside Michael Meissner Vice-President Corporate Affairs Amway Europe and Paul Baeyaert, CEO Belgium, Chairman Consumer Practice EMEA.
For a high quality image of the above teaser click here
To view the Annual Round Table Programme, for sponsorship opportunities or to register visit www.seldia.eu

Please note that when booking your hotel reservation, the Seldia blocked rooms at the Mariott Hotel will become publicly available on 2 September (Seldia will not be able to guarantee rooms from then on) and the specially reduced fee will end.

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Industry News

Pyramid Scheme case draws interest
Three EU Member States have submitted written observations in the case by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on pyramid schemes. The Czech Republic, Poland and Italy have all got involved in a case that could have important implications for the direct selling sector across Europe.

The ECJ was asked by the Supreme Court of Lithuania to rule on the interpretation of the EU law on pyramid schemes. These interpretations were asked because of the changes that were made when the relevant EU law was translated into the different EU languages. The Lithuanian court states that in some versions of the law, notably the Lithuanian and German version, a scheme is banned if it offers a consumer the possibility to make gains that primarily derive from the introduction of other consumers into the scheme rather than from sales. In other versions – the English, French, Polish and Spanish laws according to the court – a scheme is only illegal if the consumer has to buy himself the opportunity to get gains primarily from introduction of other consumers.

The ECJ is also asked to explain whether the level of payment by a consumer to join the scheme is of any relevance. Finally, it is asked whether it is relevant that the consumer gets gains from simply inscribing new people into the scheme or should these gains be related to the income generated from these new people.

A final ruling by the ECJ is expected to be made somewhere in the middle of 2014.

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Ireland: Significant rise in young direct sellers
New figures released by the Direct Selling Association of Ireland (DSAI) reveal a significant rise in the number of under 25-year-olds turning to direct selling, as an alternative to traditional employment. Figures from the DSAI’s member companies reveal a 60% rise in the total number of direct sellers in Ireland aged under-25, compared to 2011 figures.

With Irish youth unemployment at 26.7%, according to the Central Statistics Office, the jobs market for under-25s is increasingly difficult. Lynda Mills, Director of the Direct Selling Association of Ireland said: “The high unemployment figures show there is a real concern regarding young people finding work, and it is incredibly positive to see direct selling increasingly appealing to young people as a way to work for themselves and get up and running quickly. Despite the difficult jobs market, there is a real desire among many young people in Ireland to run their own business and make a very successful career.” 
 
Lynda Mills continues: “Direct selling is thriving as an industry with strong sales throughout recent years – recent figures showed a 121% increase in distributor numbers since the Irish recession began in 2008. While the industry still appeals to core demographics, for younger people it offers an alternative way for them to work with flexibility and freedom.”

The DSAI Website: http://www.dsai.ie

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Herbalife establishes New Terminology
In efforts to simplify the understanding of the company’s participant base, Herbalife recently announced that it will rename a category of participants from “distributor” to “member.”

“We know a large percentage of our distributors or participants are simply discount customers who use our weight management, nutrition, sports and personal care products primarily for their own use,” said Herbalife Chairman & CEO Michael O. Johnson during the company’s second quarter 2013 earnings conference call. “Knowing that most of our participants are discount buyers, we have decided to change and simplify the terminology we use for participants in our network. We believe the changes we are making will better serve our customers and investors and help them better understand our business.”

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Seldia Advocacy Programme on Trade Agreements
Over the course of the next three weeks, Seldia delegations will be meeting with the trade attachés of all the EU member states as well as with the Members of the US Monitoring Group of the International Trade Committee in the European Parliament. The aim of Seldia’s advocacy campaign is for future trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the US (TTIP) and the Plurilateral Agreement on Trade in Services (TiSA) to include a specific text within these agreements that recognize the valuable economic contribution of direct selling. 

On 22 July a delegation composed of Seldia, Amway and Herbalife had a very positive first meeting with the EU Commission chief negotiators for both above mentioned trade agreements. Seldia, the US DSA and all involved corporate members are closely coordinating their advocacy on the TTIP.

Next Steps: 

  • On 4 September 2013 the US Monitoring Group of the International Trade Committee of the European Parliament will meet with Commission negotiators to reflect on the first negotiation round that took place from 8-11 July in Washington DC. This meeting is not open for the public.
  • On 26 September 2013 the US Congress International Trade Committee (US ITC) is expected to deliver its impact assessments.
  • A second negotiation round is envisaged for mid-October 2013 in Brussels, a third round is expected to be held in December 2013 in Washington DC.

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New Management at Nikken Europe
Mr. Ben Woodward, who previosuly made a carreer at Amwayn, joined Nikken in 2011 and has now been appointed as the new Managing Director for Europe. We congratulate Mr. Woodward to his new position and wish him all the best. A video message introducing himself and new projects for this autumn can be found here

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MEPs keen to join Seldia event
Many Members of the European Parliament have already inscribed to be a part of the upcoming Seldia European Parliament lunch debate on Women Entrepreneurship. The event will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on the 25th of September and will feature EU Commission Vice President Ms. Viviane Reding as a keynote speaker. These well attended public affairs events give stakeholders and policymakers the opportunity to debate on the issues that women entrepreneurs currently face and allow Seldia to present the benefits of direct selling by relating to the remarkable figure of 84% of direct sellers being women. More information and a finalised programme will be sent to Seldia members shortly. 

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EU AT A GLANCE
EU Commission Question on E-Commerce

The European Commission’s, Directorate-General for Internal Market (DG MARKT) is doing a study on what businesses (starting companies, in particular SMEs) need to know before they go online. The focus of this initiative is to find out the level of “awareness” of businesses. 

Please send us your responses and/or any additional information you would like us to share with the Commission by latest on Friday 27 of September. Thank you.

  • How aware are businesses, in particular SMEs, about going online and about the knowledge/skills that are required?
  • What should a business know before it  goes “online” (information, training, skills, for example for the creation of a website, etc.)?
  • Are you aware of any existing (national) initiatives, trainings, etc.? Some Chambers of Commerce for example organise one day courses. Are you aware of these kind of courses? Are they useful? How can they be improved? What should be the role of the EU in this matter?      

EVENTS

Seldia European Parliament Lunch
    25 September 2013, Brussels
Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling
    2 October 2013, Brussels
5th Annual EU E-Commerce Conference
    15 October 2013, Brussels (EMOTA)
EuroCommerce SME Day
    21 October 2013, Brussels
2013 SME Assembly in Lithuania
    25-26 November 2013, Vilnius (EU Commission)
EuroCommerce 20th Anniversary Dinner
    25 November 2013, BrusselsTo top      

 

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

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Our mailing address is:

Seldia aisbl
Avenue Tervueren 14
1040 Brussels, Belgium
seldia@seldia.eu
www.seldia.eu

Add us to your address book

Copyright © *|2012|* *|Seldia|*, All rights reserved.

 

Seldia Newsletter July 2013

 

You are subscribed to the European Direct Selling Association’s Newsletter

July 2013
Newsletter

 

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For continuing news on
direct selling, please visit us at:
www.seldia.eu

Croatia joins the European Union

With the beginning of the Summer season in Europe and as of 1 July Croatia joins the European Union as its 28th member country. Seldia Welcomes the DSA of Croatia (HUDP) as its Full Member and wishes Growth and Prosperity to the direct selling sector in Croatia. The eight Croatian DSA’s member companies are: Amway, Avon, GNLD, Herbalife, Morinda, Oriflame, Significo and Zepter. The Croatian DSA has been with Seldia since March 2007 and is a member of the WfDSA. 

Industry News

National Direct Selling Bans never conform EU Law 
Part of Seldia’s work is to monitor and tackle different EU member states’ national bans on direct selling or on the direct selling of specific products. While the EU in the early 90’s embarked on the ambitious project of creating a single market with harmonized rules and more recently with almost fully harmonized consumer protection standards, Europe is still lagging behind this dream due to its heterogeneity. Twenty-eight member states means twenty-eight different legal systems that developed differently over time. EU laws therefore also require additional time to be properly implemented, with EU member states often failing to comply with the deadlines set out by the EU Commission. Moreover, even if there is timely implementation, member states – when they should – do not always transpose EU laws one to one into their national legislation.

One good example is the Belgian ban on doorstep selling for products above €250. The EU’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive – a cornerstone of EU law – is a full harmonization directive, meaning that this piece of legislation had to be transposed without divergences in all member states. The Belgian ban cannot be upheld because it does not feature in the exhaustive list of practices deemed as illegal in the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. In March 2011 the EU Commission very clearly communicated to Belgian authorities that if they do not adapt to the directive they would be taken to the European Court of Justice. A Press Release on this issue can be found here

Whilst there are different types of these “small-scale” bans, they all have one thing in common: they are not conform with EU law. Direct selling is a popular, regulated and common place method of distribution that by EU law cannot be limited or banned anywhere in the European Union. The EU Commission is since 2011 following up with all member states on their non-compliance with EU laws that still hold up such bans and is currently in the process of issuing “last-warning” letters, amongst many cases also on the ban on direct selling of cosmetic products in Austria. In the case of Belgium, the EU Commission already took this action to the European Court of Justice in September 2012 and a judgment is expected in early 2014. 

Daniel Gerber
Seldia EU Adviser

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Young Direct Sellers booming in the UK
New figures released on 27 June by the UK DSA reveal a boom in the number of young people in direct selling with the average number of under-25 year olds at member companies in 2012 increasing by nearly a third (29%) compared to 2011. Of the 400,000 direct sellers in the UK, over 75,000 are now under 25. The UK DSA surveyed its 60 member companies, and discovered that young people are increasingly attracted to direct selling. Under-25s year now make 19% of the direct sales force, with 30% of direct sellers in the UK educated to degree level. 

Lynda Mills, Deputy Director of the Direct Selling Association said: “For many young people, the jobs market is incredibly difficult to break into and there is a real desire to work for themselves and get up and running quickly. Direct selling offers just that and a chance for people, whatever their age to be their own boss and make a very successful career.”

The UK DSA is organizing two events in the near future, a seminar on 4 September on the issue of company products being sold on e-bay and similar sites and an afternoon session on the topic of incentives. On 5 September Tony Perkins MP, the Shadow Minister for small businesses is USA VPS Hosting at a lunch debate in the House of Commons which will be attended by selected MPs, the UK DSA Council Members and some Member Companies. The UK DSA will share with MPs the impact of direct sales on the UK economy and raise the profile of the industry. Also, congratulations to UK DSA Director General Paul Southworth for being awarded a Honorary Fellowship by the University of Northampton for his contribution to the economic development within the county of Northamptonshire.

For more information contact the UK DSA.
Website of the UK DSA (www.dsa.org.uk)

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Irish DSA has a new website
The Direct Selling Association of Ireland has a new website: http://www.dsai.ie

The DSAI website contains a section on recent news as well as on events such as their annual awards dinner which this year will be held in Dublin on November 7th. Member Companies will be able to nominate their people for the awards. Click on the ‘events’ tab and you will see the list of awards to be presented. All nominations can be made by the member companies of DSAI by going into the members area and making their nominations on line. Since 2012 the DSAI is administered by the UK DSA.

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US Chamber of Commerce
On 19 June the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named Steve Van Andel chairman of its Board of Directors for a one year term. Steve Van Andel is the chairman of Amway, responsible for managing the company’s daily operations and has led the business to become a stronger, more diverse competitor in the new economy. “I’m a very strong proponent of more businesses getting involved around the globe,” Van Andel said. “It doesn’t matter the size of the business–small, medium, or large. Promoting trade in any part of the world will continue to be a top priority of mine.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Source: US Chamber of Commerce

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Direct Selling News now on Android and iOS
The new digital version of the publication can be found in both the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. Subscribers to the print edition can download the app for free. Those who are not subscribers to the print edition can purchase a one year subscription to the digital edition for only $14.95 U.S. This opportunity certainly makes the magazine more accessible to all of our global friends. 

Website of Direct Selling News

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DSEF Online Research Archive
One of the most critical components of DSEF’s (DSEF is the US based Direct Selling Education Foundation) efforts is its work with the academic community. Through these relationships, the Foundation has built a bibliography of direct selling-related academic research that dates back to the early 1980s.

Recently, DSEF launched its Research & Case Study Archives, a fully searchable online bibliography that includes more than 100 scholarly articles, case studies and textbook entries about the direct selling industry and individual direct selling companies.

Now, DSEF website visitors can easily search the bibliography by author, year, topic and company. A list of related articles can be found at the end of each citation. Full articles are available in PDF format, or users are directed to source material websites to purchase them for a small fee.

For more information, contact DSEF Senior Program Director Bettie Smith.

DSEF Case Study Archive
DSEF Website

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New Seldia Service Provider: Alphatec
Alphatec joined Seldia as Service Provider as of 1st of July 2013.  The Munich based company is the European market leader in the field of software for network and direct marketing enterprises, thanks to the integrated software solution called UPLINE. UPLINE has been applied by numerous direct selling companies with great success since 1993.


Website : www.upline.de

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Ms. Reding speaking at next Seldia Event
Vice President of the EU Commission and Commissioner for Justice Ms. Viviane Reding has accepted an invitation from Seldia and the event’s host Ms. Teresa Jiménez MEP to be a keynote speaker at the Women Entrepreneurship lunch debate that will be held on 25 September at the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament with whom Seldia fosters close ties will also attend and share their views on women entrepreneurship issues in their respective countries. Seldia regularly organizes public affairs events on relevant EU dossiers, particularly on the topic of women entrepreneurship (85% of direct sellers are women!) in order to promote direct selling and strengthen ties with EU level policy makers.  The event is free of charge and Seldia members will be able to register in early September. 


EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding speaking at Seldia’s European Parliament exhibition on 19 February 2013

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Round Table Early Bird Registrations

You are not yet registered to the Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling? Click here to register now and to benefit from early bird registration fee
To access this year’s programme, click here
For more information on the sponsorship package click here.

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EU AT A GLANCE

AmCham EU 50 Years Celebration

“It would otherwise be a bit boring, so I hope you have not read my speech already”

With these words the President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy jokingly hinted at the recent whistleblower scandal during his key note speech on 11 July at the American Chamber of Commerce in the EU’s 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner. The celebration brought together nearly 500 high-level guests and included addresses from EU Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso, Commissioner Siim Kallas, Ginni Rometty CEO of IMB and many others. Since the first few panicky days of the Snowden scandal much has calmed down again, proving how important and culturally close the US and Europe are. One of the key achievements praised was the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that will revolutionize trade between these two economies. 

With direct selling originating in the United States and many of the largest companies being American ones, the American Chambers of Commerce in the different member states as well as in Brussels are always important points of contact for the industry. American Seldia member companies are members of AmCham and Amcham EU also has an own working group specifically dedicated to direct selling. Seldia would like to thank Amway Brussels for inviting them to this remarkable event. 

Website of AmCham EU

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Cosmetics Safety

As from the 11th of July, cosmetics both manufactured in the EU and imported from third countries, should be fully compliant with the Cosmetics Regulation ensuring strengthened safety standards and providing better information for the consumers.The Cosmetics Regulation was adopted in 2009 it replaces the Cosmetics Directive and comes into force after a transition period that allowed industry to adapt to the new rules. European legislation on cosmetics was first adopted 35 years ago and has been substantially revised on no less than 7 occasions.

The most significant changes in the new Cosmetics Regulation include:

  • Strengthened safety requirements for cosmetic products
  • Introduction of the notion of ‘responsible person’
  • Centralized notification of all cosmetic products placed on the EU market
  • Introduction of reporting of serious undesirable effects:
  • New rules for the use of nanomaterials in cosmetic products 

Source: European Commission

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General Product Safety
Proposals to enhance the safety of non-food products have been enthusiastically received by MEPs in charge of drafting reports on the European Commission’s product safety and market surveillance package. During the presentation of the documents in European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee (IMCO), on 9 July, MEPs made only a few minor changes to the text. The product safety package, published by the European Commission on 13 February, is composed of a proposal for a regulation on product safety and proposal for a regulation on market surveillance. The package calls for a major clean-up of the complex legislative architecture concerning these matters. Depending on the outcome of the European Parliament’s assessment  the expected date for the new legislation to come into force is 2015. Direct selling businesses already comply with the requirements set out in these proposals.

Currently one point on which there is no agreement is the issue of origin labeling. Under the proposed consumer product safety regulation, manufacturers and importers would have to ensure that the country of origin is displayed on all products sold within the EU, regardless of whether the product is from an EU or non-EU country. Where the size and/or nature of products do not allow for the indication of origin to be provided on the product, the indication will be required on the package or in an accompanying document. For products manufactured in a Member State, the “made in” label may refer either to the EU or to a particular state as the place of origin. Currently business representatives and consumer organisations are against it, arguing that it represents an extra constraint for businesses without any added benefits for consumers. 


Finnish Member of the European Parliament Sirpa Pietikainen who will be present at Seldia’s EU Parliament event on 25 September is the rapporteur of the product safety and market surveillance package. 

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Unfair Commercial Practices Directive
Member of the European Parliament Robert Rochefort (France, ALDE) is currently drafting an own initiative report to give additional guidance to the European Commission’s first revision on the implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD). The EU Commission presented a first report on 14 March in which it assessed the implementation of the directive, concluding that while the directive worked well and does not need to be revised, there is a need for focusing on the coherence of its implementation. The parliament report is an important initiative that allows businesses and other stakeholders to provide input into what they see as necessary for the EU Commission to focus on.Seldia and EuroCommerce will be calling for a clear need for the EU Commission to more efficiently monitor proper implementation of the directive in member states. The UCPD is a cornerstone directive of the EU and very important to the direct selling industry as on one hand it is the basis on which national bans can be lifted and more importantly it it allows Seldia and national member associations as well as state authorities to differentiate between ethical and unethical businesses and to effectively deal with the latter.

 

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Trade News
First round of TTIP negotiations
On 10 July the US and EU negotiators met in Washington with approximately 350 stakeholders at a series of events including an engagement event hosted by the United States. Following the three-hour engagement event, U.S. Chief Negotiator Dan Mullaney and EU Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia-Bercero convened a stakeholder briefing session at which they provided updates on the first round of negotiations and answered questions related to the proposed agreement. Working throughout the week, the negotiating groups have set out respective approaches and ambitions in as much as twenty various areas that the TTIP – the biggest bilateral trade and investment negotiation ever undertaken – is set to cover.They included: market access for agricultural and industrial goods, government procurement, investment, energy and raw materials, regulatory issues, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, services, intellectual property rights, sustainable development, small- and medium-sized enterprises, dispute settlement, competition, customs/trade facilitation, and state-owned enterprises.Seldia is meeting with key EU negotiators at the end of July 2013 to discuss the importance of including a specific reference to direct selling in the agreement.

European Commission Press release
Second round of EU-Morocco DCFTA talks
In the week of 24 June the second round of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the EU and Morocco took place in Brussels. The two sides agreed to integrate negotiations on trade in services that have been on-going since 2008. As a result, the DCFTA will be further expanded to include more trade sectors compared to the existing EU-Morocco Association Agreement.EU – Vietnam 4th free trade agreement negotiation round
The EU and Vietnam completed the fourth round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during the week of 2-5 July. The talks, which took place in Brussels, addressed all key subjects for a modern and comprehensive FTA. The aim is to achieve an ambitious agreement on goods, services and investment, eliminating tariffs, non-tariff barriers and covering other trade-related issues, such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development. Once in place, the agreement will boost Vietnam-EU trade ties and investment and provide for more business opportunities on both sides. The next round of negotiations will be held in Vietnam before the end of the year.

Positive outcomes of the EU-Korea FTA
1 July marks the second anniversary of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The implementation of the FTA so far has shown progress in the car sector, with a 2.27% increase of sales in 2012. Trade in services has also increased in terms of numbers of sectors covered and depth of market access commitments. The FTA also provides for the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade, especially in the automotive sector.

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EVENTS

Seldia European Parliament Lunch
    25 September 2013, Brussels
Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling
    2 October 2013, Brussels
5th Annual EU E-Commerce Conference
    15 October 2013, Brussels (EMOTA)
EuroCommerce SME Day
    21 October 2013, Brussels
2013 SME Assembly in Lithuania
    25-26 November 2013, Vilnius (EU Commission)
EuroCommerce 20th Anniversary Dinner
    25 November 2013, BrusselsTo top      

 

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

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seldia@seldia.eu
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Seldia Newsletter June 2013

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Seldia visits Lithuanian EU Presidency

On 5 and 6 June 2013 a Seldia delegation visited Vilnius, the capital of the Republic of Lithuania. In preparation of the country’s EU council presidency from 1 July until the end of the year, Seldia met with several local stakeholders relevant to the European direct selling industry’s advocacy efforts in Brussels and Europe. Seldia was welcomed by Gintautas Zaleckas, Seldia Board of Directors member and Secretary General of both the Lithuanian and Baltic DSAs (the Baltic DSA is a joint venture by the three Baltic states to pool resources).
The meetings also focused on ongoing EU legislation such as the Common European Sales Law proposal where Seldia met with the president of the dossier at the Ministry of Justice. Furthermore, Seldia met with the unit responsible at the Consumer State Authority for the revision of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, an important meeting at which both parties exchanged their views and agreed on the importance of proper implementation of the directive. Seldia also met the director of the European Consumer Centre (ECC-Net) in the light of the alternative dispute resolution directive, through which Seldia is in the process of further developing its consumer redress and code-administrator structure. Lastly, Seldia met with two women organisations to promote the industry’s contribution to women entrepreneurship and to involve them in the growing Women Entrepreneurs Platform which Seldia is setting up with Members of the European Parliament and with the organisations that took part in the European Parliament exhibition in February. 

Industry News

Polish DSA promotes ethical trading
Over the course of the last weeks, Direct Selling prominently featured on several Polish business magazines. The first was a report from a “press breakfast” organized by a weekly supplement called “Super Biznes” of the daily paper “Super Express”, which has the second largest circulation in Poland (c. 350 thousand copies). The meeting was devoted to “Ethics and Entrepreneurship in Direct Selling” and the panel of experts who debated the topic included a high ranking official of the Ministry of Economy, a well known entrepreneur, and representatives of three employers’ organizations, the Consumer Federation and a member company of the Polish DSA. Also present was the DSA Code Administrator. The report was accompanied by a separate story on direct selling and the activity of the Polish DSA.

More Polish Youth in Direct Selling
The latest story article published on 17 June in the Polish edition of Newsweek magazine reports on the most important findings of the latest study on direct sellers commissioned by the Polish DSA. Some of the interesting results: there is a clear shift in what concerns the age of direct sellers. In previous studies people over 50 constituted about 25% of all sellers, now their share dropped to 9%, while the share of young people in the 18-24 age bracket (mostly students) increased to 30% from the previous 24%. This reflects the difficult situation on the country’s labor market, especially when it comes to high school graduates, of whom some 26% are unemployed. It also concludes that nearly one-third of all sellers are based in Poland’s rural areas, and finally the study also confirmed a well known correlation between the length of cooperation with a direct selling company – and the amount of time devoted to the job – and the level of income enjoyed by the direct seller.

For more information on the articles contact the Polish DSA.
Website of the Polish DSA (PSSB)

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New definition of direct selling adopted by US DSA
At its June 8 meeting held in conjunction of the 2013 Annual Meeting, the US DSA Board of Directors adopted a new definition of direct selling:

Direct selling is a business model that offers entrepreneurial opportunities to individuals as independent contractors to market and/or sell products and services, typically outside of a fixed retail establishment, through one-to-one selling, in-home product demonstrations or online. Compensation is ultimately based on sales and may be earned based on personal sales and/or the sales of others in their sales organizations.
Direct sellers may be called distributors, representatives, consultants or various other titles. They may participate in various ways, including selling the products themselves or through their sales organizations, providing training and leadership to their sales organizations, referring customers to the company and purchasing products and services for personal use.

This definition will be used by the US DSA and its member companies in all external contacts.

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US industry celebrates Annual Conference
The US DSA Annual Meeting took place in Phoenix Arizona on June 9-11 with over 1,000 direct selling executives and suppliers. During two busy days delegates had the opportunity to participate in over twenty workshops and three general sessions featuring inspiring and overwhelming speakers. During the meeting the US DSA proudly announced that US direct sales amounted to $31.63 billion in 2012, showing an increase by 5.9% compared to 2011.  The number of direct sellers increased from 15.6 million to 15.9 million in 2012. “About 13.8 % of households in the US have a direct seller” explained Orville Thompson, Annual Meeting Chairman and CEO of Scentsy. 

The meeting ended with a Gala Dinner during which US DSA President Joe Mariano announced the names of the DSA Ethios Awards’ winners recognized for their achievements in various categories such as Product Innovation, Technology or Marketing & Sales Campaigns.

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Seldia member Energetix wins court case
The long-lasting legal dispute between Energetix Bingen (based in Bingen) and Energetix-Wellness (based in Frankfurt) has now been resolved by the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt. Energetix Bingen is now the sole owner of the “ENERGETIX”, “Frog” and “EX” brands.

The court’s decision means that whilst everything will stay the same for distributors working for Energetix Bingen, distributors working for the company in Frankfurt are now prohibited to sell jewelry using any of the Energetix brands. Roland Förster, CEO at Energetix Bingen, indicated his understanding for the past activities of distributors working for the company in Frankfurt. Nonetheless, they are recommended to cease sales, order no more goods using these brands and return any such products that they have already received to the company, particularly as it will then be obliged to refund all payments in full. 

Source: Energetix Bingen Press Release 

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Global Direct Selling Statistics
Results of the global 2012 statistical survey on direct selling show another year of increase for our industry with global retail sales reaching US$166 billion, up 5.4% compared to 2011!  These sales were generated by over 89 million direct sellers.  Asia is the largest region for direct selling whilst Europe generated 16% of the sales.  All details on the 2012 statistics will be available on WFDSA’s and Seldia’s website on 24th of June.
Thank you to all DSAs and companies for their participation in the statistical survey!

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MEP Teresa Jiménez hosts next Seldia event
Member of the European Parliament Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio and Seldia will together host the next women entrepreneurship event at the European Parliament Members Salon on 25 September 2013. 


Ms. Jimenez is a friend of the industry, having attended and supported all previous Seldia events she now looks forward to give the topic further momentum and a “mediterranean” angle. She is a spanish national from Sevilla and joined the European Parliament in 2009 as part of the European Peoples Party (EPP).  She is a member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee as well as the Women’s Rights committee.

Teresa Jiménez, after finishing her studies became herself a devoted entrepreneur, managing various business activities in Spain and then moving on to the city of London, where she became Director of the prestigious Italian fashion house Prada. Within a few years she returned to Spain and created a company dedicated to the restoration of housing. Later she began working as a journalist in the Spanish newspapers ABC, El Mundo and La Razon and has also published articles in various national and international journals.

With high level EU and national speakers expected, stay tuned for this upcoming Seldia event in the EU Parliament with registration opening in early September.

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Round Table Sponsorship filling up fast!

The sponsorship opportunities for Seldia’s flagship event – the Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling are being taken up very fast. Just as last year, the third edition of this pan European industry event that will take place in Brussels on 2 October 2013, includes the possibility for member and non-member companies or service providers to become official sponsors. So far Amway and Herbalife have become Platinum sponsors, with ACN, Avon, Energetix Bingen and Nu Skin becoming Gold sponsors. 

For more information on the sponsorship package please click here.
To access this year’s programme, click here

You have not registered yet? Click here to register now and to benefit from early bird registration fee

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EU AT A GLANCE

SEPA Payments in force by 1 February 2014!

***This is an important message on the changes to all payments which will happen on 1 February 2014 in the euro area.  ALL retailers, wholesalers, and international traders – big and small – need to be ready for this.***

On 1 February 2014, all national euro payments – credit transfers and direct debits – will switch to the SEPA format. This means retailers will have to make changes to the way they make and receive payments.

It is important to understand the consequences of NOT being ready: Under the SEPA End-date Regulation, banks are not allowed automatically to convert non-SEPA payments to SEPA payments after Feb 2014. This means that transactions in old formats will not be processed by the bank. It will be possible for banks or other providers to offer conversion services – as long as these are independent of the banks’ normal payment chain. They will also be at extra cost for the retailer (if his systems are not SEPA-ready). In addition, such services will be available only for a limited time.

Here is a basic list of the steps which will need to be taken:
·    Banking and accounting software must support the technical messaging standards used for SEPA Payments (ISO20022 – XML)
·    Get the BIC/IBAN of all your customers and suppliers (central conversion service in your country).
·    Print your BIC & IBAN on ALL your business papers (not only for cross-border business).
·    Identify any optional or AOS (Additional Optional Services, which are services a bank can offer in addition to those in the SEPA Rulebooks) that have been implemented in your country.
·    Consolidate the local and cross-border payments in one SEPA system.
 
Further detailed information can be found at:
SEPA migration toolkit
ECB website on SEPA

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EC publishes Collective Redress proposal

On 11 June, the European Commission presented two proposals on collective redress, also known as “class action” – allowing multiple claimants to seek damages on a collective basis. The first proposal is a Recommendation addressed to all EU Member States in which the Commission asks that within the next 24 months Member States should adopt horizontal mechanisms for collective redress. Although the Recommendation is non-binding, the Commission has promised to review the level of voluntary implementation within four years to assess whether binding legislation may be necessary to ensure that collective redress mechanisms are introduced across the EU. The second proposal is for a directive aimed at competition issues (B2B) – here the Commission, like in the first proposal, does not aim at EU level collective redress procedures, but rather to implement such procedures successfully on member state level. 

While some forms of collective redress already exist in some Member States, this is the EU’s first proposal aimed at creating a common framework. Many stakeholders feared the introduction of a US style class actions system, which is not the case as the proposals are not for an EU-wide system, but for a horizontal approach based on recommendations. Furthermore, the proposals take into account other dispute resolution mechanisms such as the ADR directive, European Small Claims Procedure, Mediation directive etc. 

Nonetheless, the proposals remains controversial as they will spark resistance in many Member States, particularly in those that do not see a need to reform age-old functioning national legal systems. Business groups have also already voiced their discontent about a collective redress system that would welcome opportunistic litigation. While the EU Commission underlined the fact that the European approach will clearly not follow the US class action model, an intensive debate is to be expected in the short and mid term future.

Documents: 
1) Recommendations on collective redress
Communication
Proposal recommendation
2) Proposal for a Directive on collective redress B2B
Proposal Directive
Key documents

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1 and 2 euro cent coins may be phased out
The European Commission has announced a review on the future of the 1 and 2 Euro cent coins, which many argue cost more to produce than their value to the economy. Four scenarios are proposed: maintaining the status quo; changing the material composition of the coins to reduce costs of issuance; immediate withdrawal of all the coins or a fading out with the coins ceasing to be issued but remaining legal tender for a time. The Commission will continue consultations with stakeholders and, if a clear preference emerges, it will initiate a legislative proposal. 

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Parcel Delivery discussed at EU Parliament
The fourth installment of the European Parliament Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Committee’s Working Group on the Digital Single Market took place on 16 May and was partly dedicated to the challenges faced in achieving an integrated parcel delivery market. Werner Stengg, responsible EU Commission Head of Unit for Online and Postal Services presented the results from the input given on the Green Paper on “an integrated parcel delivery market for the growth of e-commerce in the EU”. He stated that in trying to increase growth amongst online retailers, delivery issues were mainly seen in cross-border cases. Another perspective came from Andreas Lemmer, DHL, who noted that whilst the growth of e-commerce has changed the postal delivery landscape, e-commerce is still seen as a domestic issue. He urged e-retailers to focus on the “wants” of consumers, as it will be they who will determine the nature of parcel delivery. The Commission expects to publish a roadmap in early autumn 2013.

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EU Trade News
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
On 14 June the EU Member States joined the EU Parliament in giving their green light for the European Commission to enter into the formal transatlantic negotiations as soon as possible. EU Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht stated: “Latest estimates show that a comprehensive and ambitious agreement between the EU and the US could bring overall annual gains of between 0.5% and 1 % in GDP for the EU. This would be equivalent to at least €86 billion of added annual income for the EU economy. In other words, by reducing red-tape and lowering consumer prices, a future trade deal with the United States would put almost an additional €545 per year on average in the pockets of a European family.”

For the direct selling industry these negotiations offer an important opportunity to address several regulatory trade barriers that exist in Europe. In cooperation with the US DSA, the industry will be able to advocate its position efficiently on both sides of the Atlantic. Seldia will be meeting relevant stakeholders over the course of the next weeks, with the actual negotiations on TTIP starting in the summer.

EU – Thailand Free Trade Agreement
On 31 May, EU and Thai officials completed the first round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. The negotiators spent several days in Brussels working through a heavy agenda that included amongst others issues on trade in goods, rules of origin, intellectual property rights, customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, public procurement and services protection. Thailand is the EU’s third largest trading partner inside ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and the EU is Thailand’s third largest trading partner, trade between them in 2012 reaching nearly €32 billion. 

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New Eurostat Publications
EU Commission: Spring forecast 2013 shows that the EU economy is slowly on the path toward recovery
On 3 May 2013, the European Commission published its spring forecast for 2013. Following these projections the European Union economy will growth in the second half of 2013. Economic activity will increase by 1.4% in the EU27 and by 1.2 % in the euro area. This year’s annual EU GDP is predicted to contract by 0.1% in the EU27 and by 0.4% in the euro area. To access this publication, please click here.

EIB Group: Supporting SMEs in 2012 – joint report
On 2 May 2013, the European Commission, jointly with the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund presented a report on their activities facilitating access to finance for SMEs in 2012. To access this publication, please click here.

Unemployment in the Euro area grew up to 12,2%
On 31 May 2013, Eurostat released new figures on unemployment data in the Euro area as well as in the EU27. In the Euro area, it increased up to 12.2% in April 2013 compared to the 12.1% in March 2012. Whereas in the EU27, the unemployment was registered at 11.0%, the same level from March 2012. To access this publication, please click here.

22.9 billion euro surplus in the international trade in goods for the euro area and 15.8 billion euro for EU27
On 16 May 2013, Eurostat released figures about the trade in goods balance. In the euro area, a surplus of 22.9 billion euro was noted for March 2013 compared with 6.9 billion in March. In the EU27 a surplus of 15.8 billion was noted, compared with -8.2 billion in March 2012. To access this publication, please click here.

Trades records between EU27 and Russia in 2012
On 3 June 2013, Eurostat released new figures on the record levels of trades between EU27 and Russia. In 2012, EU27 exports to Russia raised up to € 213 billion; while the EU27 deficit with Russia augmented up to € 90 billion in 2012. To access this publication, please click here.

Report on restructuring in European SMEs
On 14 May 2013, Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, published a report on Restructuring in SMEs in Europe. The report aims at raising awareness among policymakers on the challenges faced by the SMES when restructuring and adapting to new competitive conditions. To access the report, please click here.

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EVENTS

European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) Conference
    20 June 2013, Brussels (more information)
Reversing Europe’s waning productivity through internet?
   20 June 2013, Brussels (more information
EuroCommerce E-commerce day
   10 July 2013, Brussels 
Seldia European Parliament Lunch
    25 September 2013, Brussels
Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling
    2 October 2013, Brussels
5th Annual EU E-Commerce Conference
    15 October 2013, Brussels (EMOTA)To top      

 

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

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Seldia aisbl
Avenue Tervueren 14
1040 Brussels, Belgium
seldia@seldia.eu
www.seldia.eu

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Copyright © *|2012|* *|Seldia|*, All rights reserved.

 

Seldia Newsletter May 2013

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Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling – Brussels 2 October 2013

Seldia’s flagship event – the Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling will be held in Brussels on 2 Ocober 2013. The organisation of the third edition of this pan-European conference is fully underway and the draft programme can already be viewed online on Seldia’s website. The theme of this year’s Round Table will be “Start me Up!” – a notion inherent to the industry’s dynamism – which delegates will see reflected in the programme with inspiring speakers, the countless networking opportunities and workshops that keep our businesses abreast of the current trends in the European Union’s legal landscape, on the new emerging markets as well as on the clever use of new technologies.This year the two day programme will begin on 1 October with guided tours around Brussels and the EU institutions, followed by the European Direct Selling Association’s Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony. The Round Table conference will start on 2 October with an introduction by Seldia’s Chairman and CEO of Oriflame Magnus Brännström. Amongst other sessions, the programme includes a CEO’s panel with confirmed participation of Oriflame, Amway, Avon and LR Health & Beauty Systems.

Don’t miss out on early bird registration which open until 1 August 2013.For more information, the programme, the registration page and the sponsorship package please click here.

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Industry News

UK DSA Annual conference 2013

The UK DSA Conference this year took place on the 9th of May at the Hinckley Island Hotel resort in Leicestershire under the slogan “We are the future”. Emphasizing the bright future of the industry, the conference also served to highlight the achievements of young direct sellers and entrepreneurs and to debate on how to attract more of the younger generation to the direct selling industry. A series of impressive guest speakers made inspirational presentations, amongst them Dr. Dorian Dugmore, Founder and President of Wellness International at Adidas and 24 year old Scottish business star Fraser Doherty who started his business career at  fourteen years by making jam in his mother’s kitchen and eloquently captivated the audience with much inspiring business advice. 

Amongst the conference sessions, DSA Director General Paul Southworth highlighted the yearly achievements of the UK DSA and together with deputy Director Lynda Mills presented the DSA’s vision for the future. There were two panel discussions, one focused on CEO’s and the other on Young Entrepreneurs. A series of eight prominent direct selling Awards were handed out throughout the conference and culminated in an awards ceremony just before the Gala dinner in which Gail Reynolds from Avon won the “direct seller of the year award”. Gail represented the direct selling industry as a speaker at the 2012 Seldia European Parliament Lunch event on women entrepreneurs. Congratulations to Gail and congratulations to the UK DSA team for another fantastic conference! 

UK DSA Conference Website

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French DSA Annual conference 2013


The French FVD (Fédération de la Vente Directe) held its annual conference in Nantes (Western France, Pays de la Loire) on 22&23 of May. The two day conference programme was made up of several captivating speaker interventions, a round table called “My company does not know the crisis” and interactive sessions made up of over 7 workshops. The Gala dinner was preceded by an awards ceremony at which amongst others, the company “la fourmi immo” won the prize for most innovative company – one of the only direct selling companies that focuses on immobilia. Isabelle Rabier CEO of Dermance who was a keynote speaker at Seldia’s Women Entrepreneurs Exhibition at the European Parliament in February 2013 won the Young Enterprise Award and Senior Vice President Europe at Partylite and member of Seldia’s Companies’ and Legal Affairs committee Mr. Armel Peillonnex was honoured for his efforts in the French DS industry with a special “President’s Award”. Congratulations to the French DSA for their event!

Website of the FVD

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EU AT A GLANCE

Croatia about to join the EU

New EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection

Croatia’s accession to the European Union on 1 July 2013 also means that the new member state will have to send its own EU delegates to the Brussels scene; with 12 of them taking up their mandates at the European Parliament and with one additional Commissioner being appointed. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso informed the press on 25 April that Mr. Neven Mimica has been officially named by the Croatian government as their countries’ Commissioner-designate. Barroso indicated his intention to assign to Mr. Mimica the portfolio of consumer protection.Mr. Neven Mimica is currently the Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Croatia. He has a long-standing commitment to European integration with extensive experience as a Minister and diplomatic adviser.

Full EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics

After the necessary consultation of the European Parliament, the Council will appoint, by common accord with the President of the Commission, the new Commissioner, so as to allow him to take up his post on the 1st July 2013. The unexpected allocation of the Consumer Protection portfolio hints at the possibility that in the next EU Commission term the resorts of Health and Consumers (currently DG SANCO – the portfolio of Maltese EU Commissioner Antonio Borg) will continue to be handled each by a different EU Commissioner and their respective cabinets.  

For the official EU Commission Press Release click here

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Croatian EU Parliament elections

On 14 April the Croatian people elected their first Members of the European Parliament with Croatia’s opposition centre-right HDZ party winning six seats, closely beating the ruling centre-left SDP faction with five deputies.The nationalist and left-wing Labour party each got one MEP. The new MEPs will officially begin their work on 1 July. 

While there is much optimism, particularly in the political circles in Zagreb, their first EU elections produced the lowest ever voter turn out in the history of the European Union. E

conomic analysts are optimistic that EU membership will boost the country’s economic recovery. An injection of much-needed investment funds awaits Croatia on 1 July: An amount equivalent to about 4 percent of the country’s GDP will become available to Croatia through the EU Cohesion Policy,  offering an important opportunity for financing strategic investments, aiming to restore the country’s growth prospects and generate better employment opportunities. Another good news is; Croatia can already improve its EU electoral turnout next year when fresh polls are due across the whole EU.

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EP delays Data Protection Vote

Members of the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) decided in early May to once more postpone their important vote on the Parliament’s draft reports for a general reform of the 1995 EU data protection laws. The main reason is the incredibly large amount of amendments that were submitted by interest groups to Members of the European Parliament. For the same reason the vote had already been postponed from end of March to the end of April. Policymakers and their party political advisors need more time to negotiate on the compromise amendments that are being worked out across the various parliamentary party groups. With the vote planned for before the summer break, the EU Parliament and EU Council hope to get into negotiations thereafter. 

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EP starts discussing Product Safety Package
The EP IMCO Committee held an exchange of views recently on the product safety and market surveillance package. After the Commission’s presentation of its impact assessment on the legislation, the rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs shared initial thoughts on the package : the precautionary principle, market surveillance resources, impact on companies, in particular SMEs, third-party testing, and products sold online were discussed.  The concept of origin marking was also raised and met good support from MEPs. The next step comes at an official hearing that will take place at the European Parliament on 29 May.  

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EVENTS

Seldia Committee Meetings
    3-4 June 2013 in Stockholm
US DSA Annual Conference
    9-11 June 2013
Seldia European Parliament Lunch
    25 September 2013
Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling
    2 October 2013, BrusselsTo top      

 

SELDIA SERVICE PROVIDERS

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Our mailing address is:

Seldia aisbl
Avenue Tervueren 14
1040 Brussels, Belgium
seldia@seldia.eu
www.seldia.eu

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Copyright © *|2012|* *|Seldia|*, All rights reserved.

 

Seldia Newsletter April 2013

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French Direct Seller Status celebrates 20 Years of Existence

The VDI status (status of independent direct seller) is a specific and unique professional status adapted for the needs of direct sellers, numbering more than 400’000 in France. It was created in 1993 by the French DSA (FVD) and the CEOs of the member companies after negotiations with the Ministry of Labour. To celebrate this important milestone the French DSA organized a press conference in Paris on the 27th of March in the presence of French deputy and Olympic gold medalist David Douillet.The aim was to create a special status for direct sellers allowing the professional to combine his or her initial activity and the activity of direct selling. The direct seller has the status of self-employed professional and benefits from social protection and insurance. Concretely, the status offers lighter administrative procedures, registration to the social security system, lighter procedures as far as reporting of activities and taxes are concerned, reduction of contributions, and the possibility to keep receiving unemployment benefits as well as retirement benefits. This status is open to everybody who wants to become a direct seller, without any pre-conditions for age, professional experience, residence, or life course.

The VDI status opens a lot of opportunities: it answers to the needs of the profession by enabling flexibility and independence, and creates at the same time thousands of jobs. With more than 100’000 new direct sellers since 2010, the sector in France is booming.

Website of the French DSA (FVD)

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Industry News

Partylite celebrates 40th Anniversary

April 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the company PartyLite, the world leader in direct selling of top quality candles and candle-holders and corporate member of Seldia for 15 years. Prizes and gifts are offered to the clients and consumers for this exceptional occasion.

Happy birthday to PartyLite from the Seldia team!

Website of Partylite

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Seldia sets up Women Entrepreneurs Platform 
Seldia published a Special Edition Brochure on the Women Entrepreneurs Exhibition that took place on 19-21 February at the European Parliament in Brussels.
The online version can be downloaded 
here

As one of the follow up projects after the Exhibition, Seldia is taking the lead in the creation of a new Brussels based Women Entrepreneurship Platform. The Platform is being joined by organisations that already partnered with Seldia during the exhibition and will continue to grow over time. Its aim is to function as an information exchange platform for European organisations promoting Women Entrepreneurs, with a special focus on cooperation with the European Parliament. The website is currently being constructed and more information will follow shortly. 

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Financial Times: Migrants boost direct selling in UK
In an article published on 5 April in the Financial Times, the journalist Emma Jacobs looks into the rising number of migrant persons taking up direct selling in the UK. In the article, Andy Smith, Amway General Manager for UK & Ireland and UK DSA Chairman states that while during the first 35 years of Amway’s presence on the island, most of the direct sellers were British, that it is now 60% migrants and that he expects their proportion to raise to 90% in the next five years.

Oriflame has witnessed a similar trend with 45 percent of its sales force having been born outside the country and a growing number of its UK consultants being of Polish, Hungarian or Romanian origin – a trend which matches the companies’ top markets in Europe. Andy Smith explains that “direct selling is a good way for a migrant to establish themselves. A strong work ethic alone really can yield success, as opposed to other industries where who and what you know are more important.” 

Deputy Director General of the UK DSA Lynda Mills sees the situation in her country as a unique opportunity for the industry and vice versa: “The rise of multiculturalism in the UK is having a huge and extremely positive impact on [our] business. People moving to the UK from countries… see it as a way in which their skills and drive can help them make up for a lack of contacts and knowledge of the UK job market.”

For the full article please click here.
Website of the UK DSA

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FVD Seminar on Innovation and Trade in Strasbourg
The European Seminar on Innovation and Trade, “the new entrepreneurs in the field of distribution” took place in Strasbourg, France, on 4th and 5th of April. Organized by the French DSA (FVD) and the business school EM Strasbourg, the first edition of the seminar included workshops and a two day conference highlighting issues linked to trade and direct selling, such as entrepreneurship, smart shopping, business creation, the human factor in direct selling and distribution, as well as online shopping. The seminar gathered actors from the academic, association, economic and institutional world in order to share a common reflection on the current and future issues of trade and distribution companies. Prominent speakers from the industry included Philippe Jacquelinet (Chairman FVD & CEO of Captain Tortue), Jacques Cosnefroy (Executive Director FVD), Tamuna Gabilaia (Executive Director WfDSA) and Isabelle Rabier (CEO Dermance). 

Website of the Event

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Estonian DS industry enjoys impressive growth
According to the Estonian DSA, one of the three Baltic states (alongside Lithuania and Latvia), in 2012 total direct sales in the country increased by 19% and amounted to 30 million euros. This growth also led to an increase by 5% in the number of people involved in direct selling, reaching the number of 22 000 professionals.

The Secretary General for Baltic DSAs Gintautas Zaleckas emphasizes the great dynamism of the sector, recalling the fact that the direct selling market is recovering more rapidly from the crisis than the total retail market in the country. G. Zaleckas explains this outstanding growth by naming three reasons: an increase in popularity of direct selling amongst consumers, an increase in the number of direct sellers and thirdly the development and spread of new technologies (internet access and cellphones) in Estonia.

Website of the Estonian DSA

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New Chairs at Czech and Slovenian DSA’s
Mrs. Ildiko Dikosova (Amway) was elected as new chairwoman of the Czech DSA on 27 March 2013 and the Slovenian DSA elected its new chairman Mr. Nenad Bondžić (Oriflame) on 14 March 2013. Seldia welcomes the new DSA chairs and wishes them much success and a fruitful cooperation.

Website of the Czech DSA
Website of the Slovenian DSA

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TOP 100 Direct Selling Companies
Direct Selling News has published the 2012 ranking of the top 100 direct selling companies in the world.  Six U.S. companies, two European and two Latin American companies are listed amongst the Top10, of which six are Seldia corporate members. 

For the full ranking visit http://directsellingnews.com

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Save the Date: Third Annual Round Table 2013
Preparations have already begun towards the organisation of the 2013 edition of the Third Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling

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EU AT A GLANCE

EU finally bans animal testing for cosmetics

Full EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics

The full EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics entered into force on 11 March 2013. On that day, a 10-year process was completed, which saw the gradual introduction of different bans i.e. on animal testing of finished cosmetic products in 2004, cosmetic ingredients in 2009 and on the marketing of cosmetic products and ingredients tested on animals in 2009. To this marketing ban an exception for complex tests still applied until 11 March 2013.

“The process was long, but it has finally come to fruition. I am confident that this news will please many European citizens who have shared with us the view that animals should not suffer for the sake of producing cosmetics” – wrote Commissioner Tonio Borg on his «Personally Speaking» blog. The date of 11 March puts an end to this last exception. This means that companies will not be able to carry out the tests outside the EU for cosmetic purposes and rely on the results in the EU. At the same time, more research is needed on alternative methods to animal testing. The European Commission made 238 million EUR available for research in the period 2007-2011.

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High Hopes and progress on TTIP

On 11 April in Washington, during EU-US talks for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), EU Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia stated that the TTIP provided an opportunity to “go beyond” the WTO and strengthen the enforcement of rules. On 13 March the EU Commission published a Recommendation for a Council Decision authorising the opening of negotiations on the TTIP. The online magazine Inside US Trade published this draft mandate on 28 March 2013, which can be downloaded here

Thomas Spiller, Chair of AmCham EU ‘s Communication and Marketing Group writes in the Brussels based Parliament Magazine that “an ambitious TTIP could benefit the EU economy to the tune of €119bn yearly and €95bn in the US” and adds that while the road to such a comprehensive agreement will be complex and bumpy “the TTIP holds vast potential for jobs and growth in the EU, the US and beyond. The post-crisis recovery is fragile and this agreement could go far in creating sustainable growth for citizens in the EU and US.”Another positive signal comes from Jose Manuel Barroso, the EU Commission’s President, who on 12 April gave a speech at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters, confirming that the negotiations will start before this summer and that the main approach is that of removing unnecessary costs created by differing regulations, as well as conventional trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas, underlining that “on both sides, [we] will not compromise on our high levels of health and safety standards, on consumer and environmental protection.”

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Consultation: European Small Claims Procedure

On 19 March the European Commission opened a public consultation on the functioning of the European Small Claims Procedure which was adopted as a regulation six years ago and has been in force since 1 January 2009 in all member states except Denmark. The European Small Claims Procedure intends to simplify cross-border small claims litigation in civil and commercial matters and to reduce costs. “Small claims” are cases concerning sums under 2’000 EUR, excluding interest, expenses and disbursements. Judgments delivered under this procedure are recognised and enforceable in the other Member States without the need for a declaration of enforceability. The procedure is optional, offered as an alternative to the possibilities existing under the national laws of the Member States. Through the consultation the EU Commission will evaluate this instruments’  practical application. The consultation will be open until 10 June 2013 and can be found here.

 

EVENTS

UK DSA Annual Conference
    9 May 2013, http://conference.dsa.org.uk/
ECR Europe-EuroCommerce Conference and Marketplace
    14-15 May 2013 in Brussels, http://www.ecreuropeforum.net/
French DSA Annual Conference
    26-27 May 2013
Seldia Committee Meetings
    3-4 June 2013 in Stockholm
US DSA Annual Conference
    9-11 June 2013
Annual Round Table on the Future of Direct Selling
    2 October 2013, BrusselsTo top      

 

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