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Italy: Amazon hit with fine over postal services

 |  August 5, 2018

Amazon has been hit with a fine from AGCOM, Italy’s communications regulator, for providing postal services without getting approval from the government.

According to a report in Reuters, Amazon was fined US$348,360. AGCOM also announced it was looking into the parcel delivery services Amazon offers in Italy.

The move comes at the same time that President Donald Trump has been criticizing Amazon and what he thinks it does to the United States Postal Service (USPS). In the spring, Trump, in a series of Twitter posts, lodged criticisms at Amazon about the impact he thinks it has on the USPS.

“I am right about Amazon costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy,” Trump wrote. In another Tweet, he said: “The post office is not doing well with Amazon, that I can tell you. The playing field has to be level for everybody. That’s very important.”

Trump isn’t entirely correct with his assessment. As letter volumes fell from 203 billion to 154 billion between 2008 and 2016, eCommerce raised parcel volumes from 3.3 billion items to 5.2 billion over the same period. Still, the USPS has posted a net loss for the past 11 years.

Despite the move on the part of AGCOM, Amazon has been expanding its services in Italy. In late June it expanded Amazon Business, the platform for companies to purchase office supplies and services, in Italy and Spain. According to a report in the Financial Times at the time, the expansion of the platform underscores Amazon’s aim to serve the corporate market.

Amazon Business launched in the UK last year, and with an entrance in Italy and Spain, it is now up and running in five European markets. Amazon Business is “off to a fast start,” said Steve Frazier, global vice-president for Amazon Business in an interview with the Financial Times. Amazon Business is also available in India and Japan, with Frazier noting that business customers in the markets all have similar problems such as invoicing. Amazon Business has more than 100,000 customers in the UK, and in the US it has reached US$1 billion in revenue in one year’s time.

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