CAIT to Piyush Goyal: Need immediate action on Amazon, Flipkart, others for violating ‘Country of Origin’

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January 24, 2021 1:46 PM

The government had in June last year mandated sellers on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), amid growing chorus in India to ban import and use of Chinese goods, to mention the Country of Origin of goods sold on the platform. Later this was made mandatory for sellers on private marketplaces as well.

The number of micro and small sellers has increased from more than 66,000 in January 2020 to over 4.71 lakh in January 2021.

Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which has been battling e-commerce companies over their alleged unethical business practices such as FDI violation for years now, has once again written to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. In a letter sent to the minister on Sunday, CAIT accused Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy, and other entities of violation of mandatory display of Country of Origin, manufacturer, and seller details on products sold through their respective platforms under Consumers Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020, Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 and guidelines of Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The traders’ body said that government needs to take “immediate action against e-commerce entities including Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy, and others. It is a case of daylight robbery of e-commerce entities in India.”

Rule 10 of Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011 provide mandates e-commerce entities to display the name and address of the manufacturer, name of the country of origin, common/generic name of the product, net quantity, best before/use by date (if applicable), maximum retail price, dimensions of the commodity, etc. “This Rule was introduced in June 2017 and provided a transition period of six months but even after a lapse of three years, the above rules are not being complied by e-commerce companies prominently by Amazon, Flipkart, etc,” CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said in a statement citing the letter sent to Piyush Goyal.

Also read: Govt working with SBI to launch e-commerce portal for MSMEs; to take on Amazon, Flipkart, others

The government had in June last year mandated sellers on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM), amid growing chorus in India to ban import and use of Chinese goods, to mention the Country of Origin of goods sold on the platform. Later this was made mandatory for sellers on private marketplaces as well. While sellers on Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and others had started to display the required information, Amazon and Flipkart had told the Delhi High Court in September that they are only ‘marketplace-based’ e-commerce platforms or intermediaries and that the responsibility for the same rests with the manufacturer or seller and not on the listing platform, according to The Indian Express report. In October, the government had also reportedly issued notices to Flipkart and Amazon for not displaying the information including country of origin, products sold on their platforms, etc.

“Similar obligations were imposed on e-commerce food business operators vide guidelines issued by the Food Safety & Standards Authority (FSSAI) on 2 February 2017. But such FBOs like Zomato, Swiggy, etc. are not complying with the above rules,” Bhartia and Khandelwal said in a joint statement. CAIT had earlier written to Piyush Goyal accusing Amazon of violating FEMA norms and also had also urged him to ask e-commerce companies to follow the FDI policy in letter and spirit.

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