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EU: Geo-Blocking Regulation Enters Into Force

Regulation (EU) 2018/302 of February 28, 2018, on addressing geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers' nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market (the "Regulation") came into force as of yesterday, December 3, 2018.
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The Regulation seeks to increase access for customers in the EU and EEA to goods and services by preventing unjustified geo-discrimination due to the customer’s nationality, place of residence or establishment. A common practice by some traders is to either block certain foreign consumer internet traffic or re-direct such traffic to alternate sites. The Regulation also prohibits the application of differentiated general terms of conditions for accessing goods and services, including the differentiation of payment and transactional conditions.

The Regulation requires member states to designate a responsible body for administrating its enforcement, and to define specific rules establishing relevant measures for infringements of the Regulation’s provisions, which are to beeffective, proportionate and dissuasive. Finally, it requires the member states to designate a responsible body for providing consumer assistance in the event of a dispute with relation to the rules contained in the Regulation.

Each member state is obligated to adopt acts implementing the above obligations. As of today, EEA/EFTA has not provided any concrete timeline for finalizing its scrutiny for incorporating the Regulation into the EEA Agreement. However, the Regulation does likely have EEA relevance. As such, amendments to Norwegian legislation will eventually be necessary.