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FDI policy on e-commerce: Traders hopeful of Govt plugging loopholes soon

Traders’ body CAIT meets Commerce & Industry Minister to press for further tightening of rules guiding foreign players

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has assured traders that a fresh press note on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy on e-commerce would soon be issued that would plug all “escape routes” of the existing press notes, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has said in an official release.

The Minister informed a delegation from CAIT, which met him on Thursday, that a strenuous exercise was underway to bring a robust e-commerce policy. A fresh press note will be released soon, the statement added. Officials from both the Department of Policy for Investment and Internal Trade and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs attended the meeting, it said.

As per the FDI policy on e-commerce, foreign players can operate an e-commerce marketplace where others can sell their products, but they can’t hold inventories and sell them on their platforms.

“The Commerce & Industry Minister said that the government stands committed to ensure that no one should dare to violate laws and rules and if anyone does so, they should be prepared to face the consequences,” the release said.

In December 2018, India had tightened its FDI rules for e-commerce by stipulating that e-commerce platform with foreign investment cannot exercise ownership or control over the inventory sold on its platform. This had hit the operations of e-commerce companies such as Amazon and Flipkart.

According to sources tracking the matter, there is an on-going discussion on the possibility of making the FDI rules more stringent by disallowing e-commerce companies with foreign investment to hold even an indirect stake in sellers offering products on their platforms.

CAIT suggested to the Minister that there should be mandatory registration of every e-commerce entity engaged in online transactions of all goods & services through any online business mode. The Minister said that the suggestion would be examined, the release stated. –The Hindu BusinessLine

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