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US India Business Council Against India’s Proposed Antitrust Law

Business News : US India Business Council Against India’s Proposed Antitrust Law

US India Business Council Against India’s Proposed Antitrust Law

WASHINGTON, DC (News Agencies) —The U.S. lobby group representing technology giants Google, Amazon, and Apple has urged India to reconsider its proposed EU-like antitrust legislation, citing potential increases in user costs and negative impacts on investment.

The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), a part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, expressed these concerns in a letter dated May 15 to India’s Corporate Affairs Ministry.

India in February proposed the “Digital Competition Bill,” modeled after the European Union’s Digital Markets Act of 2022. The proposed law targets large digital firms with a global turnover exceeding $30 billion and at least 10 million local users. The bill aims to curb the misuse of non-public data, prevent the promotion of a company’s own services over rivals, and remove restrictions on downloading third-party apps.

The USIBC argues that these measures would hinder companies’ ability to launch new features and enhance security, potentially leading to reduced investment in India and higher prices for digital services. The group’s letter, which has not been made public but was reviewed by Reuters, claims the draft Indian law is more extensive in scope than the EU’s.

The proposed bill is in response to the growing market power of a few large digital enterprises. It includes penalties of up to 10% of a company’s annual global turnover for violations. The Competition Commission of India has been actively investigating big tech firms, including Google, Amazon, and Apple, for various antitrust issues.

In 2022, the CCI fined Google $161 million, demanding it allow users to remove pre-installed apps and download alternatives without using Google’s app store. Google denies wrongdoing, asserting that these measures enhance user security. Amazon faces a separate investigation for allegedly favoring select sellers on its platform, an accusation it denies. Apple, under scrutiny for its dominance in the app market, also denies any anticompetitive behavior.

Despite opposition from these tech giants, a group of 40 Indian startups supports the new law, arguing it will curb monopolistic practices and level the playing field for smaller companies. The Indian government is currently reviewing feedback on the proposal before seeking parliamentary approval.

The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), the apex body of India’s IT industry, has called for a strengthened regulatory framework before enacting the new law. In its feedback on the proposed Digital Competition Bill, Nasscom emphasized the need for a clear correlation between the bill’s means and objectives and stressed the importance of empirical evidence to justify such regulation in India’s complex digital market.

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