E-Commerce giant Amazon has been lobbying with the US government to seek their support for pushing foreign direct investment in India among other issues, according to a lobby disclosure report filed by the company with the US Senate (hat tip – PTI).
According to the report, Amazon has been lobbying with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the US house of representatives, US Department of Commerce and Department of State on this issue. While the lobby spend for this specific issue was not disclosed, Amazon mentioned that it has spent a total $960,000 across various issues during the quarter. These include issues related to free trade agreements, corporate tax reform, online wine sales, unmanned aerial vehicles and intellectual property issues.
Lobbying in India: In India, Amazon has been continuously engaging with the Indian government to relax the regulations against foreign e-commerce companies and allow foreign direct investment in online retail. Amazon’s global vice president Paul Misener had met with Anand Sharma in February 2013 and again in July 2013 to discuss this issue.
In November 2013, a PTI report quoted Amazon director and general manager (seller services) Amit Deshpande saying that they are engaging with the government to relax FDI norms in e-commerce space, following which it can adopt a US-like hybrid model wherein Amazon will start retailing products along with the existing marketplace. Note that Amazon marketplace accounts for around 40% of their business in the US.
Following a long ambiguity in the Indian Government’s stance on FDI in e-commerce, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) had floated a discussion paper on e-commerce in India, in which it had mentioned that several MNCs, industry bodies and an international council have made a case for allowing FDI in B2C e-commerce while a national body of traders had strongly opposed this move.
Do read Medianama’s submission on FDI in E-commerce sent to the central government. If you’ve submitted your comments/suggestions to DIPP on FDI in E-commerce, please do share a copy with us on nikhil at medianama dot com.