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Piyush Goyal Hits Out At US-Based E-Commerce Sites For Disregarding Indian Laws

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal hitting out at US e-commerce giants like Amazon and Walmart has accused them for disregarding the Indian laws by indulging in exploitative pricing techniques.

He said that companies were utilizing their scale and access to huge pools of low-cost capital to enjoy exploitative pricing techniques “to the detriment of mom-and-pop stores.”

“A number of these large e-commerce companies have come into India and very blatantly flouted the laws of the land in more ways than one,” he said in a virtual event held on Saturday.

“I’ve had several engagements with these large companies, particularly the American ones, and I can see a little bit of arrogance,” said Goyal.

Goyal didn’t straightforwardly name Amazon.com or Walmart Inc’s Flipkart – the two prevailing commerce sites in India – or indicate which laws had been disregared. But, his remarks come during a period of developing uproar from little Indian dealers and retailers, who blame the US giants for evading Indian buyer security laws and competition laws.

The two commerce sites did not comment anything immediately over Goyal’s criticism and have denied the allegations levelled against them by the traders.

The Union minister also criticised the companies for indulging “forum shopping” in courts and for failure in complying with an investigation launched by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Flipkart and Amazon have appealed against the CCI’s bid to restart an investigation into their business practices, after a judge this month dismissed the companies’ original pleas.

Flipkart and Amazon have requested against the CCI’s bid to restart an investigation concerning their strategic approaches, after a judge dismissed the companies’ orginial petitions this month.

“To my mind, if they have nothing to hide, if they are doing honest business practices, why don’t they respond to the CCI?,” said Piyush Goyal at the virtual event organised by the Stanford India Policy and Economics Club.

His remarks came days after India revealed new e-commerce guidelines that could dent both Amazon and Flipkart’s aspirations in India, and power the pair to audit certain business structures.

Independently, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, the Confederation of All India Traders blamed e-commerce business organizations for dealing with India like a “banana republic” with weak laws.

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