CAIT might approach CCI over Walmart-Flipkart deal

New Delhi, (IANS): The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Thursday said that it might approach the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to seek “a ban” on the Walmart-Flipkart deal after studying the metrics of the agreement.

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal told IANS: “We are studying the deal and may resort to legal options based on the structure of the deal.”

Asked about the legal options, he said that CAIT might approach CCI.

In a statement, CAIT said that the deal pertains to important issues concerning “FDI policy, data security, competition, unfair practices etc. have been involved”.

“Since the deal has a greater ramification on India’s retail trade, a closer scrutiny is certainly warranted.”

Khandelwal further said that key issue surrounding the deal is that “whoever controls the platform controls the data and digital intelligence”.

“Therefore, being the controller of the company, Walmart may use the data and other information as per its will and wish and the possibility of compromising the data can not be ruled out,” he said, according to the statement.

“Another important aspect is that the owner can squeeze and dictate anything and as such being the virtual owner, Walmart will always be in a position to dictate its terms and conditions.”

Besides, “it is much more difficult for the government to control and regulate foreign owned platforms particularly in e-commerce sector which has no boundaries”, Khandelwal said.

CAIT said that Walmart-Flipkart deal is “nothing but in long run a clear attempt to control and dominate the much potential retail trade of India by Walmart through e-commerce which is only a bridge to reach out to offline retail market of India”.

On May 9, global retail giant Walmart Inc announced it was buying 77 per cent equity stake in the country’s largest e-tailer Flipkart for $16 billion.

The acquisition of the majority stake makes the $500-billion Walmart the largest shareholder of Flipkart group and will help accelerate its mission to transform e-commerce through digital technology.

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