‘Amazon destroyed US retail industry’: US Treasury Secy slams Jeff Bezos

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Published: July 26, 2019 11:53:53 AM

Amazon has found another critic in American Treasury Secretary, who accused it of ruining the country’s retail industry.

Amazon Prime Day 2019, Amazon.com Inc. shoppers, amazon prime day sales,  Costco Wholesale Corp, Walmart Inc, EBay IncOne of the most valuable companies in the world, Amazon had recently gotten under the European Union scanner. (Reuters)

While Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, along with other big technology firms, faces regulatory scrutiny in the US and antitrust investigation in the European Union, the e-commerce giant has found another critic in American Treasury Secretary, who accused it of ruining the country’s retail industry. “If you look at Amazon, though there are certain benefits to it, they have destroyed the retail industry across the United States. So, there is no question that they have limited competition,” US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview to CNBC TV’s Squawk Box. Steven Mnuchin also alleged that Amazon has hurt small businesses. “I think it is absolutely right that the Attorney General is looking into these issues and I look forward to listening to his recommendations to the President,” he added.

One of the most valuable companies in the world, Amazon had recently gotten under the European Union scanner and the Union started a probe against the company. The European Union is investigating if Amazon is using sales data to gain an advantage over other sellers on the marketplace platform. The Union will also probe whether the e-commerce platform is abusing its dual role as a retailer of its own products and marketplace operator. Amazon sells several products on the platform from its in-house brands. Solimo is one such brand. Questions have also been raised regarding Amazon’s policy of using data in choosing which retailer to showcase or link for its “Buy Box” button, according to media reports. Meanwhile, Amazon has said that it will “cooperate fully with the European Commission and continue working hard to support businesses of all sizes and help them grow”, according to US media reports.

Meanwhile, in India, Amazon and other e-commerce sites have also been drawing ire from several industry bodies, which had red-flagged Amazon’s conduct in the market. When the EU investigation on Amazon started in July 2019, Indian trade body Confederation of All India Traders cheered the same and called it a welcome move. CAIT’S General Secretary had also said then that the opening investigation by EU endorses the complaints of CAIT. CAIT had been vocal in the past as well, critiquing Amazon and other e-commerce platforms for abusing FDI policy and also accused them of distorting the market by predatory pricing.

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