ANTITRUST

Amazon Pushes Back In Court Against India Antitrust Investigation

Amazon India

Amazon has fired back in court over antitrust allegations in India, according to a report by Reuters.

Amazon said a probe by the country's competition regulator could cause “irreparable” damage to its reputation.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered the probe last month, with persuasion from traditional retailers in India. The retailers say Amazon broke Indian regulations by discriminating against smaller merchants, and taking billions in losses to help power significant discounts.

A trade group in New Delhi complained that large online marketplaces such as Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart — which is also included in the investigation — were only helping certain sellers and burying smaller ones.

Refuting those charges, Amazon said in a Monday (Feb. 10) filing that the CCI order “is bereft of any foundation,” and said the investigation order “suffers from non-application of mind as it appears to contain no reference to the finding of an appreciable adverse effect on competition.”

The response was filed in a court in Bengaluru.

Flipkart, meanwhile, said it was “fully compliant” with all Indian laws. Amazon will probably be heard in court this week. The trade group has been briefed about it, and reportedly will defend against it so the probe is not dropped.

Amazon has also been affected by new rules regarding foreign investment in the country. When the eCommerce giant announced a $1 billion investment last month aimed at helping digitize smaller businesses in India, the country's trade minister said Amazon wasn’t doing a “great favor” to India.

The  statement illustrated the tension between India and Amazon.

“The (CCI) investigation also has reputational consequences for the petitioner, being a global company and a part of the internationally reputed Amazon Group,” Amazon said in its filing.

In August, Amazon launched a B2B app marketplace in the country, to connect vendors.

“The platform is designed to connect the right developer with the right seller to ensure that both parties can succeed,” said Amazon India Vice President, Marketplace Gopal Pillai in a statement at the time. “We want to become the go-to solution for sellers to access business tools for their various needs and minimize the time, effort and money otherwise spent on searching and experimenting for appropriate solutions.”

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