More reports on: Retail

Amazon lobbies in US for India market

03 February 2014

US online retailing major and its group entities, including Amazon Corporate LLC have been looking at making a big push to enter India and has been lobbying for support of US lawmakers for facilitating ''foreign direct investment in India'' in the B2C segment, according to the latest disclosure report filed with the Senate.

While US business groups have been lobbying with the administration over various issues since 2000, it was only towards the end of 2013, that lobbying issues included ''foreign direct investment in India'', as per the disclosure report dated 22 January 2014.

Revelations of Amazon's lobbying in the US comes at a time when the Indian government has floated a discussion paper on allowing FDI in e-commerce retail business. A final decision would be taken after taking into account responses to this discussion paper.

Amazon had, in November 2013, sought to 'engage' the Indian government in relaxing FDI norms in the e-commerce space, saying such a move would help it begin ''retailing products'' as well, in addition to its current marketplace business model.

The company launched operations in India in June last year with its marketplace model, under which does not sell products directly to customers but only provides a platform to sellers.

The move also comes at a time when online retail trade in India recorded an impressive growth of 85 per cent against a 65 per cent increase in regular trade from shops.

According to a recent study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), some of the hottest products sold online are in the tech and fashion categories, which include mobile phones, Ipad and accessories, MP3 players, digital cameras and jewellery, among others.

In the US also, online shopping rose 10 per cent to $46.5 billion in November and December, according to research firm comScore while figures released by ShopperTrak show sales at stores rose just 2.7 per cent to $265.9 billion, according to data tracked to 40,000 US stores.

The number online shopping in the US rose 10 per cent to $46.5 billion in November and December, while sales at stores rose just 2.7 per cent to $265.9 billion.

The number of customers in stores dropped 14.6 per cent.

The issue of lobbying among the US lawmakers for FDI in India by retailers has become a major political controversy in 2012 after disclosures by supermarket major Walmart.

The Indian government had also announced a probe into Walmart's lobbying activities, which remained inconclusive in the absence of sufficient evidence.

Lobbying is legally permitted in the US, but the companies and their lobbyists need to mandatorily file disclosure reports every quarter for such activities.

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