Indian Enforcement Directorate to investigate Amazon over preferential treatment of certain sellers and circumventing foreign investment rules

 

Following a Reuters special report on the preferential treatment of a small group of sellers by Amazon and efforts to bypass regulators in India, the Indian Enforcement Directorate has announced that it will examine the findings of the report. The Indian Enforcement Directorate is part of the Department of Finance and is responsible for enforcing financial laws in India.

In January 2020, Amazon had announced an investment of US$1 billion to help bring small and medium businesses online in India, in addition to its previous commitment of US$5.5 billion. India is one of Amazon's most important markets outside of the USA and a key growth driver.

Amazon has faced several legal challenges to the set up of its operations in India. These challenges are related to changes in corporate structure to allegedly bypass Indian e-commerce and foreign investment regulations and foreign exchange laws at the Indian Enforcement Directorate, as well as Amazon’s alleged practices to favour certain retailers in the Indian market, which is subject to several antitrust probes by the Competition Commission of India

Amazon has denied allegations raised in the Reuters special report and, according to the outlet, it responded in writing saying that it ‘does not give preferential treatment to any seller on its marketplace’, and that it ‘treats all sellers in a fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory manner’.