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CCI calls meeting with restaurants’ body, EY to discuss ecommerce policy



NEW DELHI: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has called a meeting with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and consultant EY to seek recommendations on an ecommerce policy.

Amid growing friction between restaurants and ecommerce platforms, CCI’s letter said, “The workshop will bring together all relevant stakeholders on a platform to discuss competition issues in ecommerce from different perspectives. The objective is to understand issues and trends in the context of growing ecommerce activities.”

CCI’s move follows the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade calling Swiggy, Zomato, Uber Eats and foodpanda for a meeting earlier this month to resolve concerns of restaurant companies over “deep discounting” and “predatory pricing.” “The objective is stakeholder recommendations on policy options that may adequately address these issues while safeguarding both, freedom of trade and innovation incentives of online platforms,” said CCI.

The letter, a copy of which ET has seen, schedules the meeting for August 30. EY was mandated by CCI in May to conduct a market study on ecommerce evolution and issues in businesses, including the restaurant sector.

In January, some 500 small and mid-sized restaurants had alleged “misuse of dominant position by food delivery companies including Swiggy, Zomato, Uber Eats and foodpanda.”

An online petition to CCI against food aggregators expressed concern over deep discounting, inhouse kitchens and internal sourcing. It urged CCI to “put an end to unsustainable pricing, prohibition of cross-holdings of food services delivery company to own or have stake in a kitchen/restaurant, and appointing food regulators to ensure a level playing field is not breached in the garb of cutthroat competition.”

Minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal earlier said no violation of Press Note 2 would be tolerated.

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