Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: As the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday, through an order, suspended e-commerce company Amazon’s deal in 2019 with Future Group, traders’ body CAIT said the order concluded that Amazon is continuously indulging in a deliberate attempt to dodge the laws & policies of the government. CCI had said that Amazon “suppressed the actual scope and purpose” of the deal. The commission had also imposed a penalty of Rs 202 crore on the e-commerce company for not providing correct information and suppressing material particulars.
“The recent order is construed as a hard-hitting incisive order which has concluded that Amazon is continuously indulging in a deliberate attempt to dodge the laws and policies of the government in pursuance of its hidden agenda to control and dominate not only the e-commerce trade but also offline retail trade coupled with wiping out the possible competition by overtaking formidable prospective competitors,” CAIT said in a statement on Sunday.
CCI in November 2019 had approved Amazon’s proposal to buy a minority stake of 49 per cent in Future Coupons. Amazon had earlier reached out to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and secured a stay on the proposed deal by Future Group to sell its retail assets to Reliance. This was later also upheld by the Supreme Court.
In its 57-page order, CCI said, “Given that the Combination is between players who are known in the online marketplace and offline retailing and they have contemplated strategic alignment between their businesses, the Commission considers it necessary to examine the Page 56 of 57 combination afresh based on a notice to be given in Form II with true, correct and complete information, as required therein. Accordingly, in the exercise of the powers conferred under sub-section (2) of Section 45 of the Act, the Commission hereby directs Amazon to give notice in Form II within a period of 60 days from the receipt of this order, and, till disposal of such notice, the approval granted vide Order dated 28th November 2019, in Combination Registration No. C-2019/09/688, shall remain in abeyance.”
According to CAIT, which claimed to represent 8 crore traders across more than 40,000 trade associations in India, violations by Amazon has caused collateral damage to traders as more than 2 lakh shops majorly of mobile trade have been closed due to “vicious tripartite nexus comprising of Amazon, brand owing companies and various banks including government banks.” Traders’ body also sought suspension of business operations of the e-commerce portal.