Appropriate Warning

Today I received a package from Amazon.com, bearing a yellow sticker stating that “Goods Do Not Meet The Requirement Of Article 9 and 10 Of The Contract For The Foundation Of The European Community.” It’s a weird message, and not just because of its awkward phrasing.

You see, there’s no such thing as the “Contract for the Foundation of the European Community.” Google isn’t helping much, as searching for this cryptic disclaimer only leads to other people wondering what the hell it means. There are two prime candidates: the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community or the European Convention on Human Rights. In the former, articles 9 and 10 are about the free movement of goods within the Union. Since this package came from the US, it shouldn’t apply. In the European Convention on Human Rights these articles cover the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and to freedom of expression respectively. Which seems a better fit, but it’s still weird.

Anyway, given the actual content of the package, it’s an approriate warning. Because, and may the blubbering and gibeous Elder Gods have mercy on us insignificant mortals, one should bloody well hope that this kind of arcane knowledge remains forbidden and forgotten.

I bloody well hope it doesn't

(Baby’s First Mythos by C.J. Henderson, illustrated by Erica Henderson)

Update 2013-11-05
Last year, I contacted Amazon about this, and their reply has been sitting in my inbox for more than a year:

This sticker is actually related to the article of Free Movement of Goods. It is original Founding treaty of the European Economic Community.

Update 2014-03-05
Nicolas Bougues sent me a mail explaining it in even more detail:

I just came across your blog post regarding this yellow label on a parcel received from overseas.

Mine read “Goods not fulfilling the conditions prescribed by Articles 9 and 10 of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community”.

I just wanted to let you know that these labels are sticked to parcels of goods that :
– do not originate from the EC (mine came from China)
– but are transported in Europe by some european operator (mine was carried by postnl)

It’s getting more common for european post operators to offer deals to chinese (and others) exporters, for cheaper delivery of their parcels inside EC.

The sticker means that, despite the parcel looking like it originates from the EU (as is mandated by european postal operators “peering” deals, I suppose), it does, in fact, not. As a consequence, the goods shall not be treated as “import tariffs free” (like intra european exchange, as explained by articles 9 and 10), and the receiving country shall apply any import duty just like it would have done if it was a direct import.

Of course for small parcels/values, they do not bother.

Since you’re the only reference to such thing I found googling it, you might want to update your blog entry for the poor souls looking for an answer ;)