Amazon’s billion-dollar investment pledge isn’t doing India any favours – commerce minister

Jeff Bezos attends a company event in New Delhi, January 15, 2020 © Reuters / Anushree Fadnavis / Free

India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal has warned US e-commerce giant Amazon not to exploit any loopholes in the law as the company plans to expand in the country.

“Message to investors is please follow letter and spirit of the law. Amazon is not doing a favour to India by investing a billion dollars,” Goyal said on Thursday, as cited by media.

The minister is reportedly not going to meet Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is currently visiting India. Apart from the billion dollar investment, which is aimed at bringing millions of Indian businesses online, the billionaire pledged to export $10 billion worth of Indian products by 2025.

Days before Bezos went to India, New Delhi’s antitrust regulator opened an investigation into Amazon and Flipkart over allegations that the retail majors are indulging in anti-competitive practices to gain a foothold in the country. The regulator claims that the e-commerce firms are giving preferential treatment to certain sellers, while both companies deny any wrongdoing.

“If they are getting a billion to finance losses then the question to be raised is where the loss came from, authorities will seek answers,” Goyal added, apparently referring to the probe.

Meanwhile, the minister’s office tweeted that all investors should follow the letter and the spirit of the law without seeking any “loopholes when clearly we have articulated what the e-commerce model is.”

Indian business owners and professionals, unhappy with Amazon’s expansion, joined in street protests against Bezos’ visit. They claim that huge online companies are indulging in “predatory pricing,” which results in great damages for them.

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