Friday 7 February 2020

Received representations alleging e-comm firms engaging in predatory pricing: Goyal

Received representations alleging e-comm firms engaging in predatory pricing: GoyalNew Delhi : The commerce and industry ministry has received representations regarding allegations about some e-commerce companies engaging in predatory pricing and excessive discounts, Parliament was informed on Wednesday. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said these representations are under "examination".

The current foreign direct investment (FDI) policy on e-commerce sector, specifies that companies operating marketplace model business in the sector will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services and shall maintain a level playing field, he noted.

"Representations have been received in this department (DPIIT) alleging that some e-commerce platforms are engaged in predatory pricing and are providing excessive discounts....These representations are under examination," the minister said while replying to a question in the Lok Sabha.

It is reported that the Competition Commission of India has recently ordered investigation against FlipKart Internet Pvt Ltd and Amazon Seller Services Pvt Ltd in order to determine whether the alleged exclusive arrangements, deep-discounting and preferential listing are being used as an exclusionary tactic to foreclose competition.

Goyal said that e-commerce companies having foreign investment can operate only a marketplace model and there are restrictions on the inventory based model of e-commerce.

Replying to a separate question, the minister said data is not centrally maintained for assessing the impact of FDI (foreign direct investment) on the employment generation.

"FDI inflows serve to augment domestic capital and help to promote industrial development and employment generation across sectors," he said.

Replying to another question on industrial corridors, he said Asian Development Bank had prepared conceptual development plan for Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) and four nodes -- Visakhapatnam, Machilipatnam, Donakonda and Chittoor were identified for development.

Initial master planning of these two nodes (Visakhapatnam and Chittoor ) were also completed by ADB.

"ADB has approved USD 631 million (in loans and grants) for VCIC, comprising a multi-tranche financing facility," the minister said.

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