CAIT vents anger against USIBC for intervening in India’s e-commerce

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has strongly criticised US-based lobby group USIBC for objecting to an initiative of DPIIT to reframe the Press Note 2 of FDI policy.

“The uncalled-for intervention of USIBC shows utter desperation of US companies like Amazon and Walmart and which are part of this lobby group, as they have understood that their sinister game of controlling and dominating e-commerce and retail trade of India will soon be over and they are trying to block initiative of DPIIT for bringing a new Press Note and e-commerce policy,” CAIT said.

“However, the 85 million-strong business community of India will ensure that reforms in e-commerce landscape should take place as soon as possible,” the traders body said.

The CAIT has sent a strongly-worded letter to USIBC President Nisha Biswal stating that without knowing the true facts and under pressure of Amazon, Walmart and others, USIBC’s intervention is unwarranted which runs against the interests of the 85 million traders of India.

USIBC has urged the Indian government not to tighten e-commerce rules and not to make any more material restrictive changes to e-commerce investment rules as it will limit e-commerce firms from leveraging their scale.

CAIT National President B.C. Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that at a time when in a recent judgement, the Delhi High Court has found Amazon guilty of violation of FDI policy and FEMA, the intervention of USIBC shows both Amazon and Walmart are trying every route for an embargo over proposed changes in Press Note.

Bhartia and Khandelwal said that such a hue and cry is not understandable. CAIT said the government is not bringing any new law or policy and it is just trying to include Dos and Don’ts of the Press Note. Further scaling of any business can’t be stopped by law or any policy. However, the scaling or growth in business has to be within the purview and parameters as defined in the policy or the law. “Why any entity should worry when the government is clarifying the policy?” CAIT asked.

Bhartia and Khandelwal said that USIBC is mistaken in terming the business of these companies as an investment in India. The capital which these companies are using is meant to operate their business activities whose return in shape of revenue is accrued by these companies as their profit. Therefore, terming such capital as investment is factually wrong.

CAIT said they are using this so-called investment as burning of capital to support their unethical business practices and also to violate the FDI policy of the government and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). In a recent judgement of Delhi High Court, the court has taken on record that Amazon is violating FDI policy and FEMA, it added.