Amazon builds country of origin tech solution; asks sellers to fill details

The technology feature won’t allow the seller to complete the whole process of listing their products on the e-commerce platform, unless they fill the details about the ‘country of origin
Amazon India has made it compulsory for sellers on its e-commerce platform to reveal the ‘country of origin’ of new and existing product listings by the middle of August this year, according to sources. The sellers could now face hurdles in the process of listing the products if they don’t fill up the country of origin details. 

Earlier, sellers on platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart had to mention such details only for imported items and this was not mandatory for other products like domestic goods. However, according to industry sources, Amazon is now ready with a technology feature which would ask for ‘country of origin’ details when sellers fill the product details to list them on the platform. 

The technology feature won’t allow the seller to complete the whole process of listing their products on the e-commerce platform, unless they fill the details about the ‘country of origin,' according to sources.

“The tech solution is now available for sellers to feed the country of origin data for new and existing products. Amazon was already working on developing this solution in the last few months,” said an e-commerce industry executive. “Now that the facility is available, the sellers are being told to fill the details as soon as possible,” the executive added.
E-commerce companies such as Amazon, Flipkart and Paytm had started building tech platforms to ensure that the 'country of origin' of all products is clearly listed on their platform so that consumers can make informed decisions, after being told by the government. This directive came amid a growing clamour for the boycott of Chinese products in India, combined with the government’s push for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

This is a huge task which includes gathering data and feeding it to e-commerce marketplaces. There are a total of at least 600 million products listed on just four platforms, which include Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Paytm. Flipkart has already begun displaying the ‘country of origin’ on select product listings. Flipkart works with over 200,000 sellers and 250,000 small sellers such as artisans, weavers, and craftsmen. Amazon has over 600,000 sellers on its India marketplace.

Snapdeal said that as part of the listing process, the e-commerce firm already provides a field for sellers of imported products to mention ‘country of origin’. Pursuant to discussions with authorities, on June 30, 2020, the Gurugram-based firm issued a communication to its sellers specifically drawing their attention to this. “We are also in the process of conducting an outreach program with our sellers in order to facilitate expeditious compliance with this requirement,” said a Snapdeal spokesperson.

Terming it as winning the first battle against e-commerce companies, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) hailed Amazon's decision to ask its sellers to display ‘country of origin’ for all products listed on its platform beginning July 21, 2020. CAIT has further said that the component of value addition should also be adhered to without any further delay.
CAIT raised this demand on June 15, 2020, in a communication sent to Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that the Legal Metrology Act was amended in 2017, making it compulsory for e-commerce companies to display country of origin. "It is astonishing that for three years, no effort was made by e-commerce companies to implement such a legal binding,” said  Khandelwal. 
“It is when the CAIT raised the issue on 15th June followed by convening a meeting by DPIIT (Department for promotion of industry and internal trade) with e-commerce companies, the law has been in the implementation stage,” he added.

Khandelwal also said that the other e-commerce players conducting business activities in India should also follow the decision of Amazon immediately and the CAIT will call upon DPIIT to compel e-commerce companies to follow the law.

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