Day after snub to Amazon, Piyush Goyal says ‘all lawful investments’ welcome

Day after Amazon jibe, Piyush Goyal takes u-turn: 'Lawful investments are welcome'

"We welcome investments that come under laws regarding e-commerce in India. But, this investment should not create unfair competition for small traders and retail businesses in India," Piyush Goyal said.

Facing flak from the Opposition for his remark that Amazon was not 'doing a great favour' by investing a billion dollar in the country, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal Friday said his statement was "misconstrued" and underlined that investments in the country were welcome provided they adhered to rules and regulations.

"My statement on Amazon was misconstrued, the government welcomes all investments within regulations. We welcome all types of investments. But if the foundation of any investment violates the law, then there will be a legal process," Goyal told reporters. "We welcome investments that come under laws regarding e-commerce in India. But this investment should not create unfair competition for small traders and retail businesses in India."

Earlier, speaking during a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue event Thursday, the Union Minister had stated that if e-commerce giants make a loss of a billion dollars annually, then they "jolly well have to finance that billion dollars".

“…They may have put in a billion dollars, but then if they make a loss of a billion dollars every year, then they jolly well have to finance that billion dollars. So, it’s not as if they are doing a great favour to India when they invest a billion dollars,” said Goyal.

Goyal's clarification came in the wake of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos having said Wednesday that his firm would invest $1 billion into India to “digitise” micro, small and medium enterprises.

In a sarcastic remark at Goyal for snubbing Bezos, senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said it would help in making India a $5 trillion economy and boost India’s imports and exports. “The snub will reverse the five successive month decline in Imports and the eight successive month decline in exports,” Chidambaram had tweeted. "The Commerce Minister should snub more people to boost imports and exports,” he had added.

Amazon and Flipkart have been under fire from the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents 70 million brick-and-mortar retailers in the country. The association has alleged that the e-commerce firms have been bringing in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into India only to fund losses arising out of deep discounting and predatory pricing practices. The companies have denied these allegations.