Goyal acknowledged Amazon’s investments in warehousing but asked whether the money was being brought in “largely to finance losses in an e-commerce market place model.”
Commerce minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said global online retail giant Amazon.com Inc indulged in predatory pricing even as Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijay Chauthaiwale took a dig at its founder Jeff Bezos for publishing “unduly” critical reports on the Modi government in The Washington Post, which he owns.
A day after Bezos, currently on a visit to India, announced fresh investments of $1 billion in India, Goyal said Amazon was not doing any favours to the country with its investment asked whether the huge losses made by the company were linked to “predatory pricing or some unfair trade practices”.
Goyal acknowledged Amazon’s investments in warehousing but asked whether the money was being brought in “largely to finance losses in an e-commerce market place model.” He added that this raised questions of “where the loss came from”.
There has been considerable pressure on the government from the affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, its ideological parent, and also trader groups to reconsider the policy on FDI in online retail. Traders claim Amazon is taking away their business. Amazon’s position is that it serves as a platform in India and that many of the traders who complain are themselves on the platform.
Ashwani Mahajan of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate of the RSS, said Goyal’s comments indicate that the Centre may have become “more sensitized to the problems of opening up FDI (in online retail)”.
“There is a fear in every trader’s mind that these global chains will kill their business.”
Meanwhile, reacting to a statement by Bezos where he said the 21st century will be India’s; Chauthaiwale tweeted: “@JeffBezos, please tell this to your employees in Washington DC. Otherwise your charm offensive is likely to be waste of time and money.”
“I am a regular customer of Amazon and not against them. But I am definitely against what Washington Post is writing,” Chautaiwale said.
An Amazon spokesperson did not immediately comment on the matter.