French lower house approves ‘anti-Amazon’ bill

A bill to forbid internet booksellers from offering free delivery has been approved by the lower house in France. Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti accused Amazon ‘dumping’ in order to destroy French competition. Once its competition was out of the way, Amazon would raise its delivery prices, says the minister. Amazon thinks the bill is “discrimination against online consumers”.

The purpose of the new law is to take away the advantage large online retailers have over smaller brick-and-mortar stores. A lot of independent book sellers in France were complaining about how it’s impossible to fight huge online players like Amazon. According to a BBC correspondent in Paris the bill “might be seen as payback”, because Amazon reports its European profits through a Luxembourg holding company to take advantage of a lower corporate tax rate.

France vs the world
Culture Minister Filippetti has had complains about Amazon’s practices before, e.g. free deliveries and its policy of tax optimisation. Amazon on the other hand says the arrangement is perfectly legal under the European Union’s single market rules. Whatever the case may be, Amazon isn’t the only big American internet player France is fighting. It forced Google to give French news outlets part of the revenue it gets from distributing their content and French minister Arnaud Montebourg has reportedly blocked Yahoo! buying a majority stake in the French video site Dailymotion. The minister said he did not want 75% of the rare French web-success to be sold to an American giant.