NEW DELHI: Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has accused U.S. ecommerce giants of using their scale and access to large pools of low-cost capital to indulge in predatory pricing practices in India, “to the detriment of mom-and-pop stores.”
Although he did not name Amazon.com or Walmart Inc’s Flipkart – the two dominant ecommerce players in India – or specify which laws had been abused, his comments came soon after small Indian traders and retailers accused the U.S. giants of circumventing Indian consumer protection and competition laws.
“A number of these large ecommerce companies have come into India and very blatantly flouted the laws of the land in more ways than one,” Goyal told a virtual event late on Saturday.
“I’ve had several engagements with these large companies, particularly the American ones, and I can see a little bit of arrogance,” he said.
Amazon and Flipkart did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the two companies denied the allegations leveled against them by the traders.
Goyal also criticized companies for indulging in “forum shopping” in courts and failing to comply 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 original case.
His comments came days after India unveiled a new set of ecommerce regulations that could dent both Amazon and Flipkart’s ambitions in India, and force the companies to review certain business structures.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of All India Traders wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, accusing ecommerce companies of treating India like a “banana republic” and urging the government to ensure that the proposed e-commerce rules were not diluted.
In an internal memo this week, the U.S.-India Business Council, a top U.S. lobby group, described India’s proposed new ecommerce rules as concerning.
Originally Appeared Here