Amazon, Flipkart Invited by Indian Traders’ Body to Discuss E-Commerce Issues

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Thursday invited Amazon and Flipkart, among other players to have a joint discussion on the ongoing issues around online trade in the country and make recommendations on the e-commerce policy, which is currently under the draft stage. The traders’ body said that the it invited e-commerce companies for the joint meeting called ‘Seedha Samwad’ (direct conversation) in association with other trade associations, namely India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA), All India Consumer Products Distributors Association (AICPDF), All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA), All India Jewelers and Goldsmith Federation (AIJGF), and the Computer Media Dealers Association (CMDA).

Scheduled for January 27, the meeting will take place in New Delhi, CAIT said in a press statement.

The meeting is aimed to have a “broad unanimity” on “basic fundamentals of e-commerce business” among the stakeholders to provide inputs to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) for the e-commerce policy, CAIT National President BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.

Bhartia and Khandelwal also clarified that CAIT is “not averse to e-commerce or any e-commerce company but of the strong view that law of the land and the policies must be complied with both letter and spirit.”

The list of invitees for the joint conversation includes e-commerce sites including Amazon, Flipkart, Firstcry, Paytm, Shopclues, and Snapdeal, among others. It also includes companies including BigBasket, Grofers, Swiggy, and Zomato. The invite has also been sent to corporates including Reliance and Tata as well as global players such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Zoom, and WhatsApp, the traders’ body said.

CAIT also invited platforms such as Mastercard, Visa, Rupay, Cleartrip, Naukri.com, Udaan, Healthkart, 1mg, Ola, Uber, Carwale, Firstcry, IRCTC, Hungama.com, Gaana.com, Oyo, Urban Ladder, UrbanClap, Byju’s, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, Disney+ Hotstar, Voot, ALTBalaji, JioCinema, and SonyLIV, among others operating their business activities through digital mode.

The traders’ body also invited associations including the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME), Retailers Association of India (RAI), Indian Banks Association (IBA), National Farmers Federation (NFA), Association of Cinema Theaters, and the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), among others. Further, corporate retailers including Big Bazaar, Shoppers Stop, and V Mart are also invited to the meeting, CAIT conveners said.

In invitation letters addressed to Amazon Country Manager for India Amit Agarwal and Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, the copies of which are with Gadgets 360, CAIT noted that the deliberation of the meeting will be conveyed to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and other concerned officials.

“Since there exist differences among e-commerce stakeholders about the conduct of online business in the country, it is thought advisable to have a face-to-face discussion to bring broad unanimity on basic fundamentals of e-commerce business among the stakeholders in the larger interest of e-commerce trade,” the invites sent to the executives said.

The meeting will either be held virtually or physically — depending on the COVID-19 norms by the government. Amazon and Flipkart didn’t comment to request for a comment on the invite at the time of filing this article.

The latest move by CAIT comes just days after it filed a petition before the Competition Commission of India (CCI) seeking to terminate the transfer of Cloudtail parent Prione Business Service’s stakes to Amazon. The New Delhi-based traders’ association also recently announced that it would launch a campaign called ‘Vyapari Samvad’ (trader conversation) throughout February. It is aimed to discuss the “threat to the existence of business of traders due to the current form of e-commerce and several other problems” in the country.


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