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Aug 14, 2020

Competition Bureau probes Amazon for 'abuse of dominance'

If you're not partnered with Amazon, you don't exist: Former HBC CEO

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A Canadian government regulator is looking into Amazon.com Inc. over concerns the e-shopping giant’s practices hurt local companies and consumers.

In an emailed statement Friday, the Competition Bureau of Canada said it is examining allegations of “potential abuse of dominance.”

The Ottawa-based watchdog is focusing on Amazon practices that may discourage third-party sellers from offering products at a lower price or force them to use the Seattle-based company’s fulfillment services to list their products in Canada.

“The bureau’s investigation is ongoing and there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this time,” it said.

An Amazon spokesman said the company is cooperating with the Canadian probe and will continue to support small- and medium-sized businesses who sell on their platform in the country.

The Competition Bureau is also examining whether Amazon’s policies “influence consumers to purchase products it offers for sale over those offered by competing sellers.” The regulator has asked third parties to provide input for the investigation.

Canada’s move comes on the heels of an investigation by the European Union’s powerful competition watchdog, which was launched in 2019. A formal antitrust complaint is expected to be filed against the U.S. giant.

Amazon has previously said the retail market is fiercely competitive and that the company accounts for a fraction of U.S. retail sales. Amazon has also touted the success of the independent merchants on its site, with global consumer chief Jeff Wilke recently talking up the company’s support for small businesses. “Our success depends on their success,” he said.