What we see now is that anyone selling whisky (or any alcohol) must pay Duty in the EU country where the whisky is shipped to.
So far, this is an impossibility to implement.
I have been looking at this for some weeks now and all I see are complaints that it is a logistical nightmare to establish payment procedures to the tax / customs authorities in other countries. There are currently no routes that I can find to do this through the customs authorities in our own countries, thus allowing them to pass the duty onwards.
Also, there are many complaints that at the moment, if a seller does try to do this, they end up paying two sets of duty; one in their own country and a second in the country of their customer. With no currently effective means of getting a re-imbursement of the duty paid in their own country.
What does this mean?
So far, many German sellers have now stopped accepting orders from outside of Germany.
But this is just an example, we will soon see the same restrictions when other sellers in other countries realise this law exists.
Look at the main whisky businesses / sellers in the UK:
I would say the largest two are probably TWE and LFW, but also including RM and many, many more, including some who advertise in WM as world-wide shippers.
This law has been sneaked in without very much awareness being offered to the general public and sellers. How many actually know about this?
If you look at the percentage of sales for any of these large internet stores I am sure you would find a very high proportion of their business comes from overseas sales.
This one law has the immediate potential to destroy their business, or at least the overseas part of it which could be as much as 50% or more.
I personally think that petitions to ask just one EU member state to abolish duty really are a waste of time. Any single member state just isn't the correct target for petitions.
I believe we should be focusing efforts more towards the EU and the stupid, business-crippling laws being introduced.
A second law which was being discussed during February, but as yet I haven't seen an update on whether it was actually passed and when it will be implemented, is an extension to the Rome treaty on distance selling.
As we all know, sellers must offer buyers the possibility to return goods if not satisfied - for any reason.
It now seems that it will soon be law that if a buyer is unhappy and takes the matter to court, the jurisdiction will be in the country and courts of the buyer, not the seller (which it currently is).
This means that if a seller is taken to court, he must be prepared to face a court case in the country of his buyer.
This is a legal nightmare which all sellers usually hope to avoid by offering good customer care and satisfaction, but mistakes do sometimes happen and in the future, it looks like they will be prohibitively costly.