CAIT slams USISPF for terming new e-comm rules ‘regressive’

Chennai: Traders’ body CAIT came down hard on US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)’s statement on new e-commerce rules, terming it as a move by American MNCs to pressurise the Indian government to tweak norms to their benefits.

USISPF had earlier termed as “regressive” the recent changes in e-commerce rules that will come into effect from February next year.

In its statement, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) alleged that the statement given by USISPF was an attempt of companies like Walmart and Amazon to fire a shot through the shoulders of organisations like the forum to pressurise the Indian government to bring further changes to their advantage.

CAIT cautioned that any changes made “under the undue pressure of these lobbies will be strongly and stoutly opposed by the traders of India”.

“It is highly regretted that powerful MNCs through their respective government try to act as a big brother and in name of consumers and farmers they try to change policies of developing countries,” the traders’ body said.

USISPF had also said the changes would harm consumers, create unpredictability and have a negative impact on the growth of online retail in India.

The forum has asserted that ‘it is not the government’s business to micro-manage businesses’ and alleged that the amendments announced came out without any consultation and are akin to changing rules in the middle of the game.

Earlier this week, the government appeared to have yielded to demands of domestic traders and put in place new norms, which would end discounts and cashback offers that online platforms with foreign investment were offering.

According to a leading media house, a senior official had stated that the updated norms for foreign direct investment (FDI) in ecommerce will not impact the stability and predictability of the country’s regulatory environment.

“There is no change in law,” the official said, even as dominant players fretted that key differentiators such as online exclusive brands, cashbacks and priority deliveries, among others, may not be possible anymore.

“There is no message to the foreign investors, only government policy has been clarified. There are no new laws… There should be fair, non-discriminatory trade,” the official said and explained that enough time has been given to businesses to make the transition.

Deal terminated
Infibeam Avenues has said its up to Rs 120 crore-deal to acquire Unicommerce, a subsidiary of e-commerce platform Snapdeal, has been terminated.

“…we wish to inform you that the SPA has been terminated as the conditions precedent were not fulfilled within the stipulated time period,” Infibeam said in a regulatory filing.

In May, Infibeam Avenues had announced signing a definitive share purchase agreement (SPA) with Unicommerce eSolutions and Jasper lnfotech (which runs Snapdeal) to acquire 100 per cent stake in Unicommerce.

It had said the acquisition would boost its e-commerce enablement capabilities and expand the product offerings for existing clients. The transaction was scheduled to close in three-five months.

NT Bureau