Our Executives lead Sellers in Visit to U.S. Capitol Hill
By: Federica Rabiolo, Nima Gupta, and Adam Kohler, eBay News Team
Small business owners from all over the United States who sell on eBay gathered in Washington DC’s Capitol Hill last week to discuss various policy and regulatory issues involved in selling online and across borders.
Hosted by the eBay Government Relations team, the 11th annual U.S. of eBay Advocacy Day event saw about 25 eBay sellers spend a day meeting with Members of Congress advocating for policies that will help break down trade barriers and support their online businesses.
“This event is incredibly important for eBay”, said Tekedra Mawakana, eBay VP of Global Government Relations. “It provides our sellers with an opportunity to speak directly with their members of Congress about issues that affect their ability to sell online. Without this event it’s likely that these sellers would not have a chance to influence ecommerce public policy in such a direct and impactful way.”
The sellers were welcomed by our CEO Devin Wenig and members of his executive team. Not only did Devin join sellers for meetings on Capitol Hill, but he also met with key international policymakers to discuss cross border trade facilitation for small businesses.
One of the highlights of Devin’s visit was his keynote speech at the third annual Internet Association Charity Gala, an event that brings together Internet industry leaders and senior government officials while also serving as a benefit for the After-School All-Stars.
Speaking at the gala, Devin said, “the Internet is the driving force of the global economy.” You can see and listen to the entire keynote on Devin’s Facebook Page, which also includes a video of his fireside chat with The Atlantic’s Steven Clemons
In addition to Devin, other eBay Executive participants included Marie Huber, SVP Legal Affairs, General Counsel & Secretary, Dan Tarman, SVP Chief Communications Officer, Hal Lawton, SVP Marketplaces North America, Wendy Jones, VP Global Operations, Claire Dixon, VP Global Communications and Karin Schwab, VP & Deputy General Counsel of North America Marketplaces.
This year participants held more than 65 meetings with U.S. Senators, Representatives and members of their staff to discuss important issues that affect small and medium sized businesses, like Internet sales tax and cross border trade.
Internet sales tax continues to be our primary topic of discussion, and with good reason. In February of this year, the U.S. Senate passed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015. However, in order to get this bill passed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised proponents of Internet sales tax legislations a vote on one of the current proposals. eBay has been opposed to the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) and the Remote Transactions Parity Act (RTPA), because both pieces of legislation would impose burdensome sales tax collection requirements on eBay sellers. This year’s group of Advocacy Day sellers reinforced with their Members of Congress just how devastating the MFA and RTPA will be to US internet-enabled small businesses if passed in their current forms.
David London, Head of Americas Government Relations for eBay thanks the sellers and ebay team, “who took time away from their businesses to come to Washington DC, and advocate for sound ecommerce public policy. This annual event was once again a major success.”