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Government Against E-Retailers’ Predatory Pricing, Restriction of Choice: Union Minister Piyush Goyal

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said the government is not concerned about flash sales on online platforms but is against predatory pricing and other cheating methods used by e-retailers to restrict consumer choices.

He also said that often consumers purchasing goods on the e-marketplace platform to avail benefits of flash sales are diverted to entities preferred or promoted by the online retailer, which is cheating and against the foreign direct investment rules.

“Why should I complain if somebody wants to give a discount… Consumers are getting a good deal, we have no problem,” Goyal, who also holds a consumer ministry portfolio, said here at an event.

He said that there are two objections, one is following the practice of predatory pricing by dumping of goods, and the other is methods to restrict consumer choices.

“We are only trying to stop that cheating through the e-commerce policy that we are coming out with,” the minister said.

Citing China, he said dumping of goods at ‘very’ low prices for a long period of time kill domestic manufacturing and forces consumers to buy goods at high prices.

“Today consumer may get excited (about flash sales) but as a policy maker, I have to look at a long-term good for the Indian consumer and that predatory pricing, or such methods in a way to cheat public of choices is what we are against,” Goyal added.

He said that foreign e-commerce players have deep pockets and for them investing few billions of dollars in India and register ‘huge’ losses are not a problem.

They are only into accretion of customers at any prices and cost, he said.

He reiterated that the country’s FDI laws have to be respected by the e-commerce players and marketplace has to operate as a marketplace.

The marketplace players can sell products as their own single brand platform, “we have no problem, that is perfectly possible and permitted, but you can not mix the marketplace model with your single brand retail model,” he added.

Further, Goyal said that in developed economies, mom-and-pop stores are shut because of e-commerce giants.

The government stands with small retailers till the end to protect them and give them a bright future, he added.

“Indian or foreign, I would urge everybody to support this effort to protect our small retailers,” the minister said.

Xiaomi launched its camera focussed flagship Xiaomi 13 Ultra smartphone, while Apple opened it’s first stores in India this week. We discuss these developments, as well as other reports on smartphone-related rumours and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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