CAIT condemns US Mission remarks about Piyush Goyal

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New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) Taking a strong note of a media story released by a global wire Agency titled “U.S. defended Amazon after article showed company bypassed Indian law” of May 21, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has strongly condemned the most uncalled for remarks of US Mission in India about Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal protecting misdeeds of Amazon.

As per media story of the wire agency, the US Embassy in India in an internal email purported & reportedly sent by Thomas Carnegie, a U.S. embassy official in New Delhi, to John Kerry, one of President Joe Biden’s top envoys in reference to questionable business practices of Amazon said, “This could come up in the call since as you know Minister Goyal is prone to bring up tangential topics,”.

It is most striking that the note was prepared by Carnegie, a U.S. embassy official in New Delhi, defending Amazon India’s business illegal practices which have come under the lens of regulatory and enforcement agencies in India.

In the letter to Goyal, CAIT further said that this is not the first time that the country has been humiliated. As per the same global wire agency in another story titled “Test the Boundaries”, released about three months back, it was reported that an internal note of Amazon referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘not an intellectual or an academic person’ thereby attempted to reduce the stature as the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy. The validity of this story can easily be established that although more than 4 months have passed and the global wire agency has levelled serious charges against Amazon but no substantial action has been taken by Amazon to deny the contents of the said media story.

CAIT National President B.C. Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal in a joint statement issued here said, “We strongly deplore both Amazon and the US Mission in India for creating the note to defend Amazon’s position and its illegal business practices after a prominent section of our media exposed Amazon’s illegal, unfair and discriminatory business practices and its violation of wide-ranging Indian laws.The sweeping statement made in the reported e-mail is a blatant attack on the dignity and integrity of the Government of India and reeks of seemingly vested interests that the US Mission in India has in Amazon.”.

Both Bhartia and Khandelwal said that it is not just unusual but also unwarranted for the US Embassy to make such remarks against a Cabinet Minister whose reputation precedes him and is an attack on the functioning of a sovereign nation and its Government. It is also unusual that the purpose of such a remark is to defend a private company and its long-standing illegal, unfair and discriminatory practices.

“It is unimaginable to see how a foreign private company can make such staggering remarks about our Prime Minister, Government of India or any of its cabinet ministers, especially in a country that is largest democracy of the world and is stated to be one of its biggest markets and become one of its top 5 markets in terms of revenue by 2023”, CAIT said.

CAIT said that Amazon has been at the forefront of destroying the backbone of the Indian retail industry i.e. Kirana Retail yet it regularly makes an attempt to paint a picture in which it portrays itself as a saviour of small and medium merchants and traders.

Amazon’s cat and mouse game with the Government of India has been going on for a long time and it has been indulging in creative structuring of its entities and associated business enterprises to control inventory and subsequently, prices in e-commerce which is expressly prohibited by the FDI Policy. Owing to its ruthless and discriminatory business practices, there are active investigations ongoing by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and before the courts of law, CAIT said.

Bhartia and Khandelwal said that it is pertinent to note that India has always welcomed foreign governments and industry with open arms and has created a conducive environment for business to thrive in India. While the Government of India and its functionaries are working tirelessly to engage and facilitate business in India, these foreign governments and private foreign companies are making a mockery of the establishment based out of their deep-rooted prejudices against India and its highest functionaries, CAIT said.

“Amazon and the U.S. Mission in India should be warned to desist from their interference in Indian Policy and its enforcement and also from their utterly irresponsible and derogatory remarks made against the PM and your good self”, CAIT said in the letter to Goyal.