The Turkish Ministry of Customs and Trade recently published a new Communiqué on the Electronic Commerce Information System and Notification Obligations (the “Communiqué”). The Communiqué was published in the Official Gazette and entered into force on August 11, 2017.
The Communiqué envisages the establishment of an Electronic Commerce Information System (“ETBİS”, tr. Elektronik Ticaret Bilgi Sistemi) under the supervision of the Ministry of Customs and Trade for the registration of service providers and intermediary service providers, as well as for the submission of notifications and collection of e-commerce data. Accordingly, the Communiqué requires service providers and intermediary service providers to register with and upload certain information on the ETBİS in relation to their e-commerce activities.
The Communiqué applies to the following:
- Service providers providing services in their own electronic commerce platforms,
- Intermediary service providers, and
- Local service providers that do not provide services in Turkey but enter into contract or receive orders through an intermediary service provider located in a foreign country.
In this context, service providers and intermediary service providers will have to comply with certain notification obligations once the ETBİS is established. Service and intermediary service provides will be required to (i) register with the ETBİS and (ii) submit the following information within 30 days following its registration with the ETBİS:
- Registered Mail Address (tr. KEP),
- Type of e-commerce activities,
- Other commercial activities conducted apart from the e-commerce activities, if any,
- Types of goods and services offered for sale on the e-commerce platform,
- Payment methods provided on the e-commerce platform,
- Whether there are any second hand goods offered for sale, and their types, if any
- Information regarding the services received from other entities, such as banks, other payment or electronic money institutions, cargo or logistics companies,
- Information regarding real or legal persons that provide infrastructure and software services that enable the service provider to conduct electronic commerce,
- Information regarding the countries where the databases are located for storage of personal data and customer information,
- In case of cross-border electronic commerce activities, information relating to the annual volume of such trade on the basis of country and payment methods, and
- Other information that may be requested by the Ministry of Customs and Trade.
The Communiqué also imposes additional obligations on persons carrying out specific activities. In this regard, service providers operating their own e-commerce platforms must notify the place of manufacture, warehouse addresses, and the domain names of the intermediary service providers in cross-border e-commerce activities. In addition banks, payment or electronic money institutions, cargo and logistics companies, e-commerce infrastructure providers and intermediary service providers will present anonymized statistical information about the agreements concluded and orders placed through the internet to the Ministry of Customs and Trade on a monthly basis.
Information regarding service providers and intermediary service providers on the ETBİS will be published on the website to be established by the Ministry of Customs and Trade.
The Communiqué provides for a transition period for the registration and notification obligations on the ETBİS. Accordingly, existing e-commerce companies must register with the ETBİS by December 31, 2017, and submit the required statistical information by January 1, 2018. The Ministry of Customs and Trade may extend these deadlines in the future as ETBİS is yet to be established.
The Communiqué introduces a new system with strict obligations for service providers and intermediary service providers engaged in e-commerce activities. Companies should, therefore, closely follow the announcements of the Ministry of Trade and Commerce with regard to the establishment of the ETBİS, carefully consider how these new requirements may affect their activities and take the necessary steps to ensure their compliance.