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E-commerce norms should treat domestic, foreign players alike: CUTS International

Monday, January 07, 2019

Rules for the e-commerce sector should treat both domestic and overseas players equally to boost the fast-growing industry, research and advocacy firm CUTS International said yesterday.

It said the government should frame a comprehensive national e-commerce policy to provide a level playing field to domestic and foreign e-retail companies.

"The issue of creating a level playing field between domestic and foreign players in retail sector is yet to be resolved, for which a comprehensive National e-Commerce Policy is need of the hour," CUTS International Secretary General Pradeep S Mehta said in a statement.

The new guidelines for FDI in e-commerce sector are stricter for online retail firms having overseas investments providing marketplace service, but there are no such restrictions for local companies and it is creating an uneven playing field, he said.

However, he added that online vendors' concern of discriminatory treatment by present and upcoming domestic e-commerce platforms remains to be addressed.

Most of the malpractices adopted by e-commerce platforms, including discrimination among its vendors and deep discounts, can be dealt by the Competition Commission of India, Mehta said.

Rules of the game should be fair and non-discriminatory to all players in the retail sector, he said.

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