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Amazon and Walmart convincing US govt to make Indian e-com policy bilateral trade issue


Ever since the announcement of new e-commerce policy, US-based behemoths Walmart and Amazon who have high stakes and long term interest in the Indian Internet market, have been on lobbying expedition for relaxation from revise guidelines.

After scouting for extension of February 1 deadline, Walmart and Amazon want US government to make new e-commerce policy – a bilateral trade issue.

Citing anonymous sources Reuters reports that the US government is concerned about new changes as it hindrance investment from both firms in India.

According to the report, Walmart is disappointed more than surprised with the regulation. “It is a serious issue. We are doing our best to work with Indian authorities and trying to explain why this is bad for business,” said a Walmart source to Reuters.

Last year, Walmart had picked up 77 per cent in Flipkart for $16 billion while Amazon had invested over $5-6 billion in India. Although the Jeff Bezos-led firm looks ready to comply with local regulation, it wants more time to understand the revised policy.

Lobbying groups along with Amazon and Walmart have been persuading United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Indian embassy to point out unfavourable regulations.

The revised policy that further bars e-commerce marketplaces to strike exclusive partnership has also been facing wrath from observers and analyst.

While the revised guidelines have been welcomed by local sellers who have been complaining about e-commerce companies violating policies, many experts believe that new guidelines favour Reliance’s mega entry into e-commerce space. Mukesh Ambani had recently announced his upcoming grand plans for e-commerce at ‘Vibrant Gujarat Summit’.

Reliance said to have played an important role in shaping the new e-commerce policy.

The request by Walmart and Amazon for extending the deadline of new policy coming into effect in next one week from now is largely expected to be turned down as India is set for the general election in next few months. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is popular among the trading community and it won’t dare to hurt them.

While the request of the formidable duo is unlikely to get materialised, it would be interesting to observe how they comply with revised guidelines. And, find loopholes to circumvent the laid guidelines as well.

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