Members of traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) met with senior officials of e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart in the capital on Friday, but the discussions did not reach a conclusion on the contentious issues that have been going back and forth for a while.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade additional secretary Shailendra Singh, CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal, Flipkart chief operating officer Rajneesh Kumar and Amazon India Marketplace Vice President Gopal Pillai were among the ones who attended the meeting.
“We had an open and transparent interaction CAIT. We truly welcome the opportunity to share the success of hundreds of thousands of sellers on our marketplace. We offered our commitment to help onboard CAIT traders to be part of the digital economy and reach customers across india and worldwide. We thank the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and particularly the Hon’ble Commerce and Industries Minister for this forward looking initiative,” an Amazon spokersperson said about the meeting.
Khandelwal said CAIT placed evidence of predatory pricing, deep discounting, controlling inventory by portals, exclusivity and violation of foreign direct investment policy of the Government by both Amazon and Flipkart.
Because both e-commerce firms denied these allegations, CAIT is planning to once again approach Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and ask for to ask for an independent audit of Amazon and Flipkart’s business models.
CAIT is also planning to write to all big brands and ask them to clarify their position on the claims of Amazon and Flipkart that brands listed on their platforms have been offering discounts and the platforms are not influencing prices.
“If need be the CAIT will not hesitate to approach Competition Commission of India or route of Court to make brands clarify their position. Whoever is giving deep discount must be flouting one or the other law or policy and CAIT will seek action against them,” CAIT said in a statement.
Among the other issues raised by CAIT are offline traders selling their goods through their own online portals or websites, and some of the online products not being available with them offline. CAIT has said this practice is anti-competitive and unethical under the FDI policy.
In a recent interview, Amit Agarwal, Amazon’s senior Vice President and country head had said, “There is nothing like an offline retail or an online retail, just like there is nothing like an offline or an online customers. There is a customer and there is a business. Interest of a small business is to maximise their returns.”
The Friday meeting comes in quick succession after one round of meetings among the same stakeholders on Thursday.―Business Standard