Published: Wed, January 15, 2020
Markets | By Otis Pena

Traders of 8 Odisha cities plan protest during Bezos's India visit

Traders of 8 Odisha cities plan protest during Bezos's India visit

"We plan to organize peaceful rallies against Jeff Bezos in all major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata as well as smaller towns and cities", Praveen Khandelwal, the group's secretary-general told Reuters.

Bezos and Agarwal did not address the protests or the antitrust probe. The allegations include exclusive launch of mobile phones, preferred sellers on the marketplaces, deep discounting and preferential listing/promotion of private labels.

In October 2019, in an unusual public exchange, commerce minister Piyush Goyal and USA commerce secretary Wilbur Ross clashed over why Amazon had reduced its investments in India. He had previously met Modi at an event in Washington back in 2016, and later said the company would invest over $5 billion in India in the coming years.

Some of the allegations around heavy discounting could be sour grapes, but it's clear that festival sales have drawn the ire of small traders the most.

The CCI said its investigation unit should complete the probe within 60 days, but typically such cases have taken far longer.

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"Selling products cheaper and resulting the retail sector to incur losses is not allowed", the commerce minister said. Over the last few years, the issue of "anti-national" products being sold on its platform have cropped up a number of times.

Bezos, dressed in an Indian attire, paid his regards at a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, a video posted on Bezos' Twitter account showed. "Live as if you were to die tomorrow".

Mr. Bezos is on a three-day India visit starting from Wednesday. "Learn as if you were to live forever", the tweet read, quoting Gandhi.

The Amazon CEO's visit may get tense, given that small business owners are planning protests across 300 cities, including New Delhi.

Bezos is also due to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other government officials as well as industry leaders such as Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, according to people familiar with his itinerary.

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