The reform aims to facilitate E-commerce in Georgia by developing a legal and regulatory framework and the necessary technical infrastructure. It consists of many different aspects, incorporating the activities of implementing government agencies, other public sector stakeholders, and the private sector. These facets include gaps in the legislative and regulatory framework, as well as various private sector inefficiencies. Notably, E-commerce platforms currently have low consumer trust, which therefore results in unutilized potential within the sector.
The key challenges and gaps associated with an incomplete legislative and regulatory framework include:
- Non-existent legal framework for the protection of consumer rights. The Law on Consumer Rights Protection ceased to exist in 2012, and today there is no legal framework to directly protect consumer rights. Work on the new legislative framework is in progress, and this area will be addressed by the adoption of the new Law on E-commerce and the Law on Consumer Rights Protection.
- Personal data protection risks. Upon adoption, the new Law on Personal Data Protection, drafted by the State Inspector’s Service (SIS), will redefine rules and concepts for personal data protection and will be harmonized with the respective EU regulation.
- The rules and responsibilities regarding illegal content on E-commerce platforms are not clearly defined for Intermediary Service Providers (ISPs). Currently, the Georgian National Communications Commission communicates with ISPs regarding the removal of illegal content from websites; typically when the website owner cannot be located or is unwilling to take the content down. The new Law on E-commerce is to define the rights and responsibilities of ISPs and protect them from illegal content monitoring obligations. Additionally, relevant amendments have been made to the Law on Copyrights and Related Rights to ensure that the laws are in line with one another and with respective EU directives.
- Issues related to payment systems and payment services. 1. Facilitating business access to foreign markets by making international payment processes within the EU more efficient, easy, and secure. 2. Developing an alternative payment dispute resolution system to replace the current court-based resolution system. The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) has already prepared amendments to the Law on Payments Systems and Payment Services to address these issues.